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A potential alliance of councils in the South of England meet in Guildford on 11 September to discuss collaborative working as part of LocalGov Digital Makers, and the good news is, if you work for a local government then you're invited too.
The discussion will centre around how councils can work together where political priorities and user needs align, but still retain the autonomy to deliver services tailored to their local residents' needs.
It's hoped that the alliance will meet regularly, not just to discuss future work, but to hold discovery and hack days. Use of free online collaboration tools such as GitHub and Trello will be promoted and in addition, Makers are working on the creation of new digital tools to aid collaboration, where none exist at present.
Working together councils can create better digital services for their residents and help break the cycle of building or buying the same functionality in every local authority. Not only will this create extra capacity, it will give localgov digital staff access to a much wider skill set, and most importantly, save councils money too.
This arrangement will be more flexible that a Local Government Digital Service or a formal shared service, as it enables LocalGov Digital teams to remain directly accountable to residents and elected representatives, but gain the benefits of cross organisation collaboration.
There's limited space for additional councils to attend the event, so if you work for a local government digital team and you're interested then please get in touch with @LGMakers to let us know and follow @LocalGovDigital for the news of what's happening in the sector.
Please note this event is for government employees only. We hope this event will be a success and the start of a series of meet ups potentially involving a wider audience.