Put your digital vision into practice…
The launch event of the Future Fund challenge from O2 attracted representatives from almost 50 councils.
Three prizes are up for grabs - funding packages worth £125,000, £75,000 and £50,000 of O2’s consultancy time, services and technology.
The simple premise is that authorities’ bids should set out how they will use technology in innovative new ways to transform services and benefit their citizens.
Seventeen market stalls were set up displaying a wide range of O2’s services and gadgets, from fleet management systems to mobile payment devices and tracking complaints on social media.
Rushing around the stalls in packs of four or five, council ICT directors, chief executives and managers were making new discoveries at every turn.
Rebekah Davies, business change manager for Buckinghamshire CC, said: “I came here today with an idea we devised at the council, and walking around the market place I’ve got 10 ideas. It’s a real eye-opener.”
One stall that caught her eye demonstrated ‘near field communication’ devices, which allow people to get information from any object just by waving their mobile phone at it. It can also be used to pay for services, check bin collection days or any number of other things.
“If we were to implement something like that, it would immediately take away some of our first-line contact. If we put the information out there to begin with that’s one less call coming into the council,” said Ms Davies.
Frances Bedding, external funding manager at Suffolk CC, is interested in this kind of ‘channel shift’, as well as in O2’s mobile telecare devices, which monitor a client’s location as well as containing motion sensors.
“Concerned relatives want this kind of service but don’t know where to go. There’s a market out there,” she said.
Mike Kenworthy, ICT director at Harrogate BC, struck a note of caution.
“I think generally it’s been a very positive event and it’s getting people thinking,” he said.
“Sometimes managers within local authorities feel very threatened by changes. But mobile and remote working empowers the staff, and you have to build trust and change the way you manage staff. Once that happens bringing new technology in becomes a lot easier,” he added.
- The closing date for the challenge is 20 June. Councils are still welcome to apply.
- Visit: O2.co.uk/futurefund
- LGC is supporting the Future Fund from O2. LGCplus.com/FutureFund
How it works
- Entry deadline, 20 June 2012
- Finalists pitch to judges, July 2012
- Winners announced
- LGC follows progress as projects get under way
Any UK council is eligible to take part
Also in: Win up to £125k for a digital idea