Councils secure government funding to test new online housing services

More than £750,000 has been awarded to councils looking to improve services using digital technology, government has announced.

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Three housing-related projects have received funding from the government’s Local Digital Fund.

Overall, six projects by local authorities received £753,000 from the fund.

One project receiving money is a joint £100,000 initiative between City of Lincoln Council, London Borough of Southwark, South Kesteven District and Royal Borough of Greenwich.

This is aimed at developing a better online housing repairs system and will explore and prototype common service patterns for reporting and managing repairs.

£73,000 is being diverted to a project administered by Worcestershire County Council, Redditch and Bromsgrove Council and Suffolk County Council.

This money will be used to fund a project to use death registration data to reconcile the availability of social housing, reduce the wait time for families on local housing lists and prevent lost council tax revenue.

Another housing-related project being funded by the announcement is one aimed at making the planning process more efficient and transparent.

Delivered by London Borough of Southwark, London Borough of Hackney, Greater London Authority, and Surrey Heath Borough Council, the £100,000 is to look at user-centred digital planning application systems.

Minister for Local Government, Luke Hall MP, said: “Councils up and down the country are working together to embrace digital technology and improve public services.

“They are truly looking ahead and adapting their work to make things better for residents. I’m delighted to invest over £750,000 from our Local Digital Fund into 6 more collaborative projects aimed at improving local services.”

This funding round was only open to projects which were previously awarded funding last year. A funding round remains open for new local authority projects to apply to the Local Digital Fund before it closes on 16 September.

Ideas could range from making people’s lives easier with more efficient, online ways to pay for services or get help, to embracing tech to support vulnerable people or making bin collections, social housing repairs and taxi licensing services more efficient.

For the projects, lead councils across the country partner with at least 2 other councils to share knowledge and ideas.

This collaborative approach is a key pillar of the government’s Local Digital Declaration.

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