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Councils awarded funding to boost online services

Local authorities received more than £750,000 in the second round of the Local Digital Fund, aimed at improving citizen offerings in areas such as housing and payment

Councils across England have been awarded £753,000 to improve services through digital technology.

The second round from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s £7.5m Local Digital Fund will go towards six projects where councils work collaboratively.

Projects that are being funded include an initiative led by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, which aims to provide social workers with better information to cut the time and cost of child referrals.

The initiative, which has received £350,000 in funding, will provide social workers with better family context information from other local services for their child referrals. The project will also involve Leeds City Council and Manchester City Council.

Another selected project, led by London Borough of Southwark, will focus on user-centric digital planning application systems to make planning processes more efficient and transparent. The project has received £100,000 in funding and will see collaboration between London Borough of Hackney, Greater London Authority, and Surrey Heath Borough Council.

Other lead councils working on the selected initiatives are Buckinghamshire, Worcestershire and Barnsley, in projects ranging from exploring better payment and management platforms to creating an online housing repairs system. Including the councils leading the projects, 25 local authorities will benefit from the new round of funding.

The Local Digital Fund, launched in September 2018, was part of the pledges made under the Local Digital Declaration, which aims to set out how councils can transform public services.

In December 2018, the government awarded £1.3m to projects through the fund in the first round, with up to £100,000 provided to 16 projects involving 57 councils.

In August, a third round of funding was launched and applications close 16 September 2019.

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