Future Councils update

Local Digital
Local Digital
Published in
3 min readMay 25


Since we announced our 8 pilot councils back in March, we’ve been busy speaking to each council and learning about how Future Councils can help them.

The feedback we have received has been invaluable in helping us understand the challenges currently faced by the councils and we have been working hard on figuring out how best to solve these issues.

We will be sharing these updates regularly to keep you informed on what we are doing and how we are progressing with the programme.

Initial feedback on the pilot

We received some great feedback from the pilot councils during our initial 1–1 sessions with them. We were able to get an early impression of the strategic challenges they face, and the most pressing issues they want to tackle over the next few months.

As well as learning more about these challenges, we also heard some very helpful constructive feedback on the pilot itself. This included the need to be clearer in outlining our own idea of the programme, and communicating this in a way that better sets expectations for the councils.

Based on this feedback, we’ve spent time readjusting our approach and focusing on how we’ll help councils understand their own challenges. Going forward, our focus is to understand the experiences of each council through problem statements, identify common challenges between each of the councils, and crucially, address them in replicable, effective ways which can then help other councils in the future.

High level roadmap of the Future Councils pilot

We hope our enhanced approach will offer more clarity to the councils, and give them a clear idea of how we’ll work together to make the programme a success.

Finalising our next phase of research

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been focusing on what our next phase of research with our pilot councils looks like.

Based on what we learnt during our initial meetings, we wanted to start conversations that really drill into the challenges they face, but also start exploring ways to solve these at a programme level.

This means getting a better understanding of where each council is currently, and defining what success could look like for them come the end of the pilot.

To do this, we will be running individual problem-framing sessions with the councils to prioritise what we’ll work on. We’ll then come together as a cohort and start exploring replicable solutions to our shared problems.

And, of course, we’ll be sharing what we learn with everyone regularly and often.

Sharing our work more widely

We want to talk more openly and transparently about our work throughout the pilot. This will involve sharing updates with councils and stakeholders more regularly — especially when we hit key milestones.

These updates are the first step to opening up our processes, being more transparent about what we’re working on in the pilot, and explaining why we have done it. We will also tell you what we’re going to be looking at next.

Of course, in the spirit of the pilot, this could all change as we learn more and evolve our approach. We’re always looking for feedback, so please let us know how our communications are working for you, and what you want to see more of.

To hear the latest on our progress, subscribe to the Local Digital newsletter.

What’s next

Our goals for the coming weeks include:

  • Defining and shaping problems with our pilot councils
  • Planning a cohort-wide council session for June
  • Defining our communications strategy
  • Bringing in additional resource to bolster our research, design and engagement activities



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.