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Win up to £125k for a digital idea

Got a proposal for an inventive ICT project? Enter for a Future Fund from O2 award and you could win cash and consultancy expertise

Today LGC launches the Futures Fund from the O2 Local Government Futures Forum, an exciting award worth a total of £250,000 to help councils develop their technological abilities to transform frontline services and improve efficiency.

The project aims to encourage councils to innovate and use ICT in new and exciting ways, and proposals should either develop something new or safeguard a popular, established project.

Shortlisted councils will be invited to pitch their ideas in front of an independent panel. This will deliberate and select three candidates to receive one of three prize packages, to the value of £125,000, £75,000 and £50,000.

These are not simply cash awards - they offer valuable access to O2’s consultancy time, service and technology. The funding can also be matched up to 100% by the local authority.

The initiative was set up as part of the O2 Local Government Futures Forum, an ongoing research and consultation exercise looking at local authority transformation.

The forum discovered that although ICT departments were considered to be key in helping local authorities to cope with budget cuts, they were often sidelined at a strategic level. Chief information officers are often not represented at executive board level.

Exactly how technology will transform local government is still evolving. Although there are some indications of future trends - such as the increasing use of social media to engage with citizens and the growth of cloud computing and mobile devices - the impact on services is not easy to predict.

But it is likely that councils will need to focus on collaboration with businesses and co-production of services with customers if they are to get more bang for their bucks.

There is certainly an appetite for change. The O2 Local Government Futures Forum found that ICT departments were generally ambitious, either by wanting to streamline the way their council currently functioned or by going for “one big project” to act as a “complete game-changer”. Few just wanted to stick to the basics.

The O2 Future Fund is designed to explore those possibilities and support ground-breaking projects that are genuinely transformational.

The competition is open to any UK local authority. A launch event will be held on 25 April in Stratford-on-Avon, at which councils will be able to seek inspiration from information about the possibilities technology can offer. The event will be open to 150 delegates, but councils not able to make the event will still be eligible to enter.

Applications must be completed within eight weeks of the launch. Judges will then choose up to six candidates for the shortlist, and they will be invited to make their pitch. Full details of the process will be revealed on 25 April.

How it works

  • Launch event held in Stratford-on-Avon, 25 April
  • Open for entries, 25 April
  • 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

Get involved

The launch event on 25 April will be an opportunity to find out more and to gather inspiration from shared examples of what technology can offer.

Register your interest at: O2.co.uk/futurefund

If you are not able to make the event, you will still be able to enter.