Future Councils update #2

Local Digital
Local Digital
Published in
3 min readJun 30


Welcome back to our second update from Future Councils. Read on to find out about how we’ve restructured the team and what happened in our first whole cohort session.

Expanding our support

The past month has seen the Future Councils team expand dramatically to better meet the needs of the pilot councils.

Following feedback from the councils, we are restructuring the Future Councils team. To allow us to work more closely with the pilot councils, we’ve introduced 4 squads, with each squad helping out two of our pilot councils. These squads will be working with the councils to better understand the challenges they are facing when implementing digital and cyber projects, and help them to test new approaches to explore these problems.

This information will then be passed to our programme team who are supporting the squads and responsible for the strategic direction of the programme and the design of the end deliverables.

What we’re trying to achieve

The Future Councils programme aims to give councils the tools to help identify barriers and what services need to transform.

Throughout the pilot, the cohort will work with the Local Digital team to:

  • Identify significant organisational and cultural barriers to reform
  • Narrow down a key service area to transform and test interventions within this service area, sharing back what works, what doesn’t, and what is worth further exploration
  • Start work towards adopting and meeting the Cyber Assessment Framework (CAF) for Local Government to help them reduce the risk and impact of a cyber attack
  • Take part in training and/or mentoring for a range of council staff
  • Measure their digital and cyber maturity

When the pilot concludes, we will have a better understanding of what blocks cyber and digital transformation within a council. We’ll also have tested some interventions to unblocking these within a service area with our pilot councils.

Understanding common challenges together

To explore what these challenges are, we brought the 8 councils together on Tuesday 27 July for our first whole cohort session. We kicked off the session by running through the updated pilot roadmap and what to expect over the coming months. Splitting in pairs, the councils then focused on the challenge they face and which to prioritise for the pilot.

To do this, the councils and their squads worked through an activity to find projects that hit the ‘sweetspot’ between creating a positive impact for the council, illustrating the value of a new way of working for the council, and enabling research into systemic sectoral problems. While councils can work on many projects during the course of the pilot, the projects that hit the ‘sweetspot’ will be the primary focus.

The ‘Sweetspot’ Venn diagram to identify potential projects

Coming back together as a cohort, the councils then shared back from their discussions. Conversations included linking together resident, service, technology and innovation pain points with deeper root cause issues such as utilising data for decision making, digital skills and gaining council-wide buy-in.

In pairs, councils worked through an activity to identify pain points and root causes

What’s next

Our goals for the coming weeks include:

  • Continuing to work with our councils to hone in on their chosen problem statement for the pilot
  • Building connections between the squads and the service areas, so that we can carrying out a deep dive to explore these problems statements
  • Creating a shared research strategy so that we can work effectively with councils to explore the problem statements
  • Analysing and synthesising the information we are gathering to identify common issues that councils face and validate these problem statements



Local Digital
Local Digital

The Local Digital team is part of the UK Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. Read more about our work: https://www.localdigital.gov.uk.