Laura Sharman 17 June 2014

Single local government website ‘ill-conceived’

A single website for all of local government is an ‘ill-conceived’ idea and should not be attempted, according to an association for IT professionals.

Socitm said the idea to create one website for all councils may seem attractive but the concept is actually ‘deeply flawed’. It said the savings possible would not be great as first assumed and the logistics of sustaining a single website would be too ‘daunting’.

It also said it was important for tax-payers to have a direct, digital relationship with its elected representatives, and a single website would go against the localism agenda.

However, Socitm did say it supports the development of a common platform to enable councils to share software tools and applications.

Socitm president, Nick Roberts, said: ‘Its not difficult to sign up to the idea that if there are transactions all local councils are operating, we only need to build once and share. In real life things are much more complicated, but the principle holds. We’d all welcome reducing dependence on proprietary systems and moving towards open source, publicly owned solutions and clearly Government Digital Service can support collaboration to evolve exemplar transactions.

‘The key will be in using standard APIs to enable the integration of transaction code built once on a shared platform, say GOV.UK, with existing local authority platforms. Socitm is keenly engaged in this space.’

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