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MHCLG opens second round of Local Digital Fund


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has opened the application process for the second round of support from the Local Digital Fund.

It said it will provide grants of up to £350,000 for projects, with up to £7.5 million available in total.

The process is open to groups of at least three councils working together, with the lead authority being in England although those in other parts of the UK are eligible to be partners.

Announcing the move, Minister for Local Government Luke Hall (pictured), said: “Councils are on the front line of exploring how we can harness technology to improve services while saving taxpayers’ money.

“Today we’re opening up the next round of applications for the Local Digital Fund. I would encourage all councils with innovative ideas that focus on residents’ needs to apply.”

MHCLG suggested it is open to ideas including new online ways to pay for service, using technology to support vulnerable people, or making services such as bin collections and social housing repairs more efficient.

A recent blogpost by the Local Digital team in the ministry said that councils looking for partners can use available channels, and that it plans to publish guidance on how to do so.

Other changes from last year’s first round including removing the expression of interest stage, limiting the number of applications per council to two and providing evidence of senior stakeholder support.

Variety of projects

Last year 16 projects were awarded grants of up to £100,000, including work on the use of Amazon’s Alexa technology for supporting people in care, improving online tools for reporting housing repairs, and using data analytics and AI to produce education plans for children with special needs.

Earlier this year Local Digital published progress reports on each of the projects and said it was analysing the outputs to understand how best to invest the remainder of the fund.

Image by Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament, CC BY 3.0

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