A key challenge councils face in delivery of digital services is the legacy technology market, with a small number of providers dominating the market and software ‘solutions’ locking in traditional service silos. Much of this technology has its origins in the days of ‘e-government’ and is based on legacy technology that struggles to meet users’ expectations.
To deliver on the Local Digital Declaration’s commitment to ‘fix our plumbing’ it is vital to adopt technology architectures that enable design led approaches and can move at pace. This proposal is for a Discovery exercise to explore how ‘government as a platform’ approaches might be used to deliver dramatic improvement across councils and:
- Decouple replacement of legacy back-end systems from delivery of new digital services, allowing councils to accelerate their digital transformation
- Open up opportunities for design and development of new front end experiences which can connect as part of redesigned end-to-end services that better meet user needs
- Open up the supplier market and enable collaboration across councils, by enabling new services to be reused across councils, even where back-end systems differ
- Adopt ‘open source’ principles that will enable councils to meet their local populations’ needs while also benefiting from each other’s work
Based on prior learning in Hackney, we think this might look like an open source API layer between the prevalent back-end systems and front-end interfaces, which authorities can share and contribute to according to their own pace and priorities. But the discovery will be agnostic and explore all and any possible approaches to achieve the above outcomes.
- Introduction to product management