The Local Digital Declaration

The Government Digital Service and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government launched the Local Digital Declaration to support and unite local authorities around a shared understanding of good digital practice.

It is a unique call to action that addresses the legacy IT contracts, isolation of procurement practices and siloed digital projects that have left local government services vulnerable to high delivery costs and low customer satisfaction for the public they serve.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

The Local Digital Declaration is a call to arms for local and central government, their influencers and the private sector that supplies them, to join together in a mission to support “building the digital foundations for the next generation of local public services." It sets out principles that support local authorities to follow open standards and best digital practices with view to developing a common, open approach to digital service transformation across government.

Each signatory of the declaration commits to the co-published principles of good digital and to supporting local authorities in following them. It has been written for local authority leadership to embrace and use as a central point for cultural change that supports the embedding of digital transformation within the organisations.

Local authorities in the UK have developed their digital services disparately, which has been further hindered by procurement models that have remained behind digital progress and are dominated by a small number of suppliers. Some local authorities can boast exemplary services delivered in agile, cost-efficient frameworks. However, until the Local Digital Declaration there has not been a single vision for what good is, or a route to measure against. Local authorities have procured services in isolation, unaware of best practice examples or progress in other areas of the UK. With the support around the Local Digital Declaration all those who sign up are able to expose and utilise best practice including successful business cases, procurement briefs, service design and more.

This is the first collective agreement that has brought central and local government together in consensus on what good digital practice is. It was developed through one-to-one engagement and relationship building. Workshops teased out an understanding of what prevented digital innovation, why procurement was isolated and why change had not been forthcoming.

A key element has been to examine why digital opportunities and standards published and adopted across central government has not been picked up across the local sector. As a result, where standards have not included local nuances these are being re-addressed with the ambition there is one set of standards that is applicable to any level of public sector. In addition, supporting local authorities to understand and access the UK Digital Marketplace will be key to transforming outdated procurement practices.

A platform-based website pulls the audiences around the Local Digital Declaration together into a community, giving them a space to seek training, share success and use tools, frameworks and patterns that have worked for other local authorities. It also highlights opportunities of collaboration where local authorities, regardless of their location, can join together in a supportive way through development of a service.

At the start of its journey the Local Digital Declaration launched with more than 40 co-publishers, showing the demand for support and change but also offering testimony to the detailed and exemplary engagement bringing together voices from across the public sector, their influencers and suppliers.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

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Year: 2018
Level of government: National/Federal government


  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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