Public Services > Central Government

Maltby outlines local government’s digital transformation challenges

Published 10 October 2017

DCLG’s director Data Projects highlights user centred design, commodity components, using data, and connecting to our community


The Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) newly appointed chief digital officer Paul Maltby discussed the main challenges local government faces in achieving digital transformation at the  Annual Socitm conference  in Leicester.

The first challenge Maltby identified was the role of a user centred approach to deliver agile working services to end users.

Maltby said, “User centred design is the thing that has transformed our world and the way which we interact with technology and data.”

He went on, “The real challenge is broader service digital transformation, and we can only do that with the close working agreement of those who are delivering services and those need clear direction and leadership from the top.

“There is not always a straightforward single user. Actually many things in government have a complex relationship with our local areas, with families, not just individuals,” he said.

The second challenge Maltby addressed was the issue related to the usage of common platforms and commodity services.

Maltby said, “These days we are finding frustrating .....when we are thinking about the ‘one size fit all’ services that many of us still rely on deep in our organisations, we have been frustrated for their ability to respond in an agile way to changing public needs, the ability to work across the ways which we have organised how organisations and our services in groups and we need that greater flexibility”.

“We have to work in this world of digital transformation dealing with this extra pressure of greater exceptions from our public, (and) senior leaders as well, of course, from the always harsher spending environment and we have to balance these two things together,” Maltby said.

The third challenge he outlined is better use of data.

Maltby highlighted the changes data is bringing to the ways services are delivered to the end user by both central and local government. 

“I think it is already changing and there is a lot more to do there and gain, not just in efficiency but also in terms of privacy and the way we interact with GDPR”, Maltby said.

The last challenge Maltby identified was the best approach to connect to local communities.

He recognised the value of peer networks such as Teacamp in providing an opportunity to share expertise and stories as well as developing partnership facilitate digital transformation.

He concluded, “Data services will have to look differently ... The idea of moving toward common design patterns, and preconfigured ways of procurement, working in with different groups like the digital marketplace as well as a standalone procurement framework. This is something that is really important“.    

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