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LGA goes live with Digital Pathfinders Programme

Programme offers £20,000 in funding to councils that come up with ‘pioneering solutions’ for cyber security, digital inclusion and connectivity

The Local Government Association (LGA) has launched a Digital Pathfinders Programme, offering councils up to £20,000 each for a range of digital projects.

The programme is designed to help local authorities deliver digital projects in three categories: digital inclusion, cyber security and digital connectivity.

It is focused on delivering sustainable change that meets the need of local communities, but that can also be scaled up and transferred across multiple community and council settings.

The programme prospectus said the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the value of local government and its leadership.

“Never before have councils’ digital communications and services been so critical to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable,” it said. “From video conferencing, to new data sharing, to the digitisation of public meetings, the local government response to Covid-19 demands continuous and accelerated digital innovation.

“Through the LGA’s sector support offer, we are providing councils with tools and resources to respond to the challenges of Covid-19 and its consequences while working closely with the government on priority issues. We will continue to offer a helping hand to councils as they improve, innovate, and seek to improve their resilience now and into the future.”

The LGA will not only help councils with funding, but also by providing project governance through the programme, including an adviser to help coordinate and oversee projects, and integrate findings from the various councils.

The association will also offer a learning programme, including tech essentials, learning events and networking opportunities.

Councils have until 10 September 2021 to register their interest, and projects must meet a series of requirements, including focusing on local needs, showing how they are innovative and delivering a sustainable impact beyond the funding period.

“Successful councils will manage the project and work with the LGA to deliver the proposed initiatives,” said the prospectus. “Intellectual property will belong to the LGA with a view to sharing across the sector.”

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