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New digital project to improve services for residents in Greater Manchester wins funding

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12/12/2018

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been awarded a share of an almost £1.3m fund for local authorities.

The GMCA has been awarded funding for two projects which aim to use digital technology to improve public services.

The first project worth £80,000, in collaboration with Manchester City Council, Wigan Borough Council and Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, aims to improve decision making in children’s services departments.

The second project worth £74,900, in collaboration with the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester, will create a system to simplify the process of undertaking data protection impact assessments.

Andrew Western, GMCA Digital City Region lead, said: “We have a clear vision to be a European leading digital city-region. Devolution has given us a fantastic opportunity to break down silos and work together to make sure we improve life for everyone who lives and works across Greater Manchester.

“These two projects highlight how we are growing as digitally as a city-region, using technology innovatively to meet our ambitions and making Greater Manchester the best place to grow up, get on and grow old.”

Minister for Local Government, Rishi Sunak MP, said: “Embracing digital technology can revolutionise public services. Within local government, I firmly believe it has the potential to improve a range of services in a host of different ways.

“Ultimately, our aim is to make services better for users but it is likely to reduce costs for councils too. This could be by improving the experience of someone in care, streamlining the admin that comes with the stress of moving home, or giving a simpler way to license taxis.

“And these are just some of the successful ideas which I am delighted to announce government funding for today. I’m excited to see these projects come to fruition.”

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority projects are two of 16 projects across the country awarded grants of up to £100,000 to shape new digital services or explore the potential of modern technology to improve their work.

Other areas of research include using improved online tools for reporting social home repairs, and using data analytics and artificial intelligence to make it easier to produce better education plans for children with special needs.

Lead councils across the country have been partnered with other councils to share knowledge and ideas. This collaborative approach is a key pillar of the Local Digital Declaration, launched in July, to better coordinate public bodies seeking digital solutions.

As part of the Declaration, the government has committed to giving hundreds of local authority staff digital leadership training this financial year.

This announcement is a further demonstration of the commitment by the government to help create communities that are fit for the future, including through the Brexit Deal.

More information on the Fund is available at www.localdigital.gov.uk