Think tank Policy Exchange has called upon local government to develop a single platform for the provision of web services.
In a new report called Technology Manifesto, the organisation examined how ICT can be used by local and national government to transform public services.
Policy Exchange claims that a digital platform, like the central government GOV.UK site, could help local authorities improve service and deal with budgetary pressures.
The manifesto says that while ultimately the decision is in the hands of councils themselves, the benefits of digital government will not be achieved without collaboration.
“A local GDS hub should be established to help them apply platform technologies, converge on open standards and replace more than 400 local authority websites with a single domain in the style of GOV.UK,” says the document.
The idea of a local government version of GOV.UK was first proposed last year in a blog post written by Richard Copley, head of ICT of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.
Copley called for a Local Government Digital Service (LGDS), which would be responsible for overseeing standardisation and improvement of council digital services.
The ICT head claimed “significant savings” could be achieved by standardising services and reducing the 25,000 software applications currently in use by local authorities across the UK.
Policy Exchange agrees with Copley’s idea, adding that platforms based on open standards would give citizens an automated way to send data to government.
“This would empower communities to report on and help resolve issues in their local communities, from pot holes to park littering,” says the Technology Manifesto.
Besides this, the document recommends that local government audits and declares non-personal datasets they hold and publish a schedule for future release in order to promote transparency.