O2 Local Government Digital Fund helping communities to realise their 'smart' ambitions

I’ve been putting the finishing touches to the O2 Local Government Digital Fund initiative, which gives Local Authorities the chance to bid for £250,000 worth of digital expertise, services and technology to make a difference in their community. While working on the project, I’ve been really impressed with how ambitious many Local Authorities are being in embracing digital opportunities. The digital world is becoming a focal point for communities – and I feel privileged to be a part of this revolution in thinking. I’m sure you’ll agree these are exciting times.

Digital initiatives in action

Take the simple Who Owns My Neighbourhood? scheme from Kirklees. This opened up all of the council’s land-ownership data to allow local people to find out who owns derelict land, so it can be used in a way that benefits the whole community. So if residents want to set up a play area for children, they know where to look first and get the ball rolling.

Then there’s the Lambeth in numbers idea. Following an initiative to allow residents access to all its data, Lambeth Council are showing how this can be used fruitfully by the public. True to its vision of becoming the UK’s first co-operative council, they have allowed anyone to make comments and even add their own data. The idea is to promote more communication and make council services truly accountable to the public.

The Sunderland Software Centre is part of a public-private initiative to support software companies in the region and give a real helping hand to budding entrepreneurs. This centre is the fifth council-backed software facility in the city and Sunderland already boasts the highest number of tech start-ups outside London. With this new centre, the council is hoping to help new, local businesses become world leaders.

Your chance

It’s great to see Local Authorities realising the massive potential of digital and how it can change lives. I’m delighted to be a part of O2’s initiative and to be playing part in growing Britain’s digital ambitions.

For O2’s LGDF scheme we’re looking for great digital ideas from Local Authorities, with the best ones winning some, or all, of the pot of £250,000. Local Authorities can bid for one of three categories – mobile working, connecting and communicating with citizens and communities or collaborating in the workplace. These can be single or joint bids.

To find out more or submit a bid, go to o2.co.uk/lgdf.