This report investigates for the first time the attitudes and perceptions of local elected representatives towards digital technology, governance and leadership in their authorities.
Author, Cllr Theo Blackwell, gathered data from over 800 elected councillors across England, to give a unique insight in to the impact and potential impact of digital transformation on public services.
Start of the Possible found that local councillors are not ‘digital dinosaurs’: whether veteran or first-term; metropolitan or district; leadership or non-executive; they hold strong and positive views about technology, automation and data and how public services can benefit from them. However, for a small and vociferous cohort, digital exclusion and the fear of the digital divide is a major issue. While this challenge does not stop change, it may impede progress or the pace of change.
Tackling digital exclusion is still the number one issue now and for the future amongst councillors. Connectivity also remains a concern and there was a strong and widespread view that current data-sharing arrangements are not effective.
The survey found that there is clear backing for digital to be included in thinking around devolution and a thirst for councillors to be better supported to understand more about technology and transformation in all its forms.
The full outputs from the survey are also avalailable: Digital leadership in local government April 2017 – final