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Smarter use of technology and data could save local authorities £10 billion by 2020

UK Local governments could save up to £10 billion by 2020 through smarter and more collaborative use of technology and data, according to new research.

The Small Pieces Loosely Joined report identifies that UK Councils lose over £1 billion by failing to identify where fraud has taken place, while a lack of data sharing collaboration between local governments, and the use of bespoke IT system are keeping the cost of providing public services sustainably high, according to a new report by Policy Exchange.

The report sets out a number of ways in which local governments could save billions of pounds, whilst providing better and more coordinated public services.

UK Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins said “Can-do councils are already delivering multi-billion-pound savings through embracing the digital age and the efficiencies this new dawn offers to them. But as this report shows they can go much further and town halls should now be tapping into these new opportunities to make the necessary savings to protect front-line services and keep council tax down for hard-working families”.

“Local government accounts for a quarter of all public sector spending and should therefore play its part in reducing the inherited deficit. This could include doing more joint working, getting more for less through smart procurement, tackling local fraud and council tax arrears, or utilising their reserves and surplus property.”

Recommendations include:

  • Using data to predict and prevent fraud
  • Sharing data between neighbouring councils
  • Identifying where services can be shared between neighbouring councils
  • Phasing out costly bespoke IT systems
  • Creating an ‘app store’ where individuals, businesses or other organisations can bid to apps and on-line services instead of individual Councils designing or commissioning their own applications.

Read the full report: Small Pieces Loosely Joined.

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