Innovation: we’re just getting started

Local Government lost one of its true innovators recently – and one whose vision for digital innovation in local services will live on for decades to come.

Michael Jennings was, 
among many achievements, the 
man responsible for ensuring
 the digitising of Ordnance
 Survey mapping for local
 government in the early 2000’s,
 ensuring local government had widely embedded GIS mapping for services years before any other sector. He was for many years a director at Surrey CC – but perhaps more notably he was one of those of cers who gave as much commitment to sharing best practice as he did to his day job. He represented the whole of British local government in using computerised mapping to improve services.

Under his oversight, we invented the standard for referencing property, created the means by which a national dataset, is maintained on a daily basis, and created what became the benchmark by which all service data across all local public services is brought together. As a sector we have lost a wonderful representative of local services – but I think Michael would be delighted to see the legacy he left. As a not for pro t, iESE was founded to research and share best practice.

Local government is still innovating as it continues face unprecedented nancial challenges

iESE has been investing in new tools that can be used to modernise the transformation process. We have been working with partners, not just the UK but around the world, tools that allow us to rapidly model ways of organising services and see the differences in the bottom line.

We have also been researching best practice on how local public services are organised. When we bring these tools and research together it creates new opportunities. We can model these as is, but also rapidly model the different best practice options and tailor them to our circumstances.

The combination of digital tools and research takes sharing best practice to a whole new level - you can rapidly model new ways of working, understand the nancial implications and the tools, then become a means to manage the transformation itself.

The digital modelling of public services to improve ef ciency and effectively target our increasingly-scant resources shows that local government is still innovating as it continues face unprecedented nancial challenges.

I think Michael would be pretty proud of that.

Dr Andrew Larner is Chief Executive of the Improvement & Efficiency Social Enterprise.