Hello and welcome to the Government Digital Service podcast. My name is Laura Stevens and I’m a Creative Content Producer at GDS. And today we’re going to be talking about the Local Digital Declaration. This is a set of guiding principles that help support local authorities, of all sizes and capabilities, to deliver great digital services and platforms that meet the needs of their users. And since it launched 2 years ago, 223 public sector organisations have signed up to it.
And to tell me more about the work the declaration has done is Lisa Jeffrey and May-N Leow. So welcome both to the podcast, please could you tell me who you are, where you work and how you’re involved with the Local Digital Declaration.
So yeah, I'm Lisa Jeffery. I'm a Regional Relationship Manager for Government Digital Service, GDS, I'm based in Leeds. And we're here to help open doors and raise awareness of the support that's available from GDS and to connect people where it's beneficial to do so to support digital transformation. I started working at GDS in May 2018, and that's just a couple months before the Local Digital Declaration launched in July 2018, and I've been involved ever since then really over the last 2 years.
Hi everyone. I’m May-N Leow, and Head of the Local Digital Collaboration Unit. So almost a year now at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government [MHCLG], and yeah, Lisa is a fantastic champion of, of the declaration and we love working with her and GDS.
So I’ve actually seen it from both sides. So when I was working in the council in Southwark, we were co-signatories of the declaration, we also applied for the funds - so I have that perspective of what it feels like to be in the council. So yeah, it’s been really fantastic seeing it from both sides of, of the pond.
So I described the Local Digital Declaration briefly in the introduction. But I’d like to hear a bit more about it. It’s a set of 5 principles - could we talk through them?
So it's, it’s, as you say kind of Laura, it’s, we’ve got 5 principles in the declaration, and it's based around the GDS Service Manual as well as the Technology Code of Practice.
But the key things for us is that obviously we want users and citizens need to be first when you know, designing a system and offering good local services. And the second one is around fixing the plumbing - so we want to fix the hard, complex problems. It's not very sexy but it's completely vital for delivering good services. And then we want to design safe, secure and useful ways of sharing information and data and that's even more critical from COVID and what we've learned in the crisis response. And then the fourth one is to kind of demonstrate leadership in creating the conditions for genuine organisational transformation, making sure that it can actually happen. And then lastly, working in the open whenever we can so as many people can learn from, from each other.
So those are kind of, the 5 principles we have in the declaration.
So the Local Digital Declaration is a joint initiative from GDS and MHCLG. And can you describe for me who is it for?
So it's aimed primarily at local authorities and other public sector organisations that meet the requirements of signing the Local Digital Declaration.
I think the Local Digital Declaration is a, is a great example of what can be achieved if, if we all work together. It's co-written by 45 different organisations, so it's really about shared ambition for the future of public services in the internet age. And it's now been signed by 223 different organisations.
And can you describe some of the councils who have signed it? Sort of, are they big councils, are they small councils, who