With consultations between local councils and the DLUHC concluding, the eight local authorities have been selected for the digital and cyber improvement projects under the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) Future Councils programme.
Running for a total of six months, the DLUHCs local digital team has allocated up to £750,000 per project for local authorities across the country. The first phase of the allocation will see Broadland partner with South Norfolk, Cornwall, Dorset, Leicester, Lewisham, Reading, South Tyneside and Stevenage.
Ensuring other authorities can make the improvements required by the DLUHC, there have been clear indications that there will be opportunities for other councils to join the programme later this year.
With calls on a more direct focus on authorities that need the funding the most, authorities will be looking to share best practices and highlight the ways in which they can improve cyber security.
Combined Authorities Can Play A Larger Role
This is expected more within combined authorities as sharing best practice through the mayoral processes allows for the improvement of multiple authorities under one umbrella.
The strongest applicants set out clear examples of how their strengths were relevant to the pilot, and were honest about any challenges they anticipated.
Breaking down cyber security improvements, the funding allows authorities to improve over five key areas: general security, staff skills, systems and software, the user experience of digital services and back-end processes for council staff.
Baselining Cyber Security High On The Agenda
Baselining their current digital and cyber security is at the heart of the projects, and deploying the Cyber Assessment Framework for Local Government. They are required to not only identify at least one key service area to transform by moving away from legacy technology, but they will also identify barriers to reform with plans to overcome them and take part in training and mentoring of staff.
DLUHC Optimistic Ahead Of Digital Future
DLUHC said that: “The common themes highlighted in the councils’ applications to join included supporting the reform of social care, increasing the use of robotic process automation, adopting cloud solutions and building digital capability.”
“They also outlined potential routes to overcoming challenges that could be explored through the pilot, or where they had gaps that they’d like support to find the answers collaboratively.”