Treasury wants to fund local web 'portals'

Worthy of note from Gordon Brown’s speech to yesterday’s big conference on public service reform:

And let me emphasise just how much importance I attach, and the Treasury attach, to matching local setting of objectives in new ways that will be proposed by the coming Local Government White Paper with the flow of publicly available data, real time data on what is actually happening on the ground, real time information that enables the professionals who run public services to use their experience to best effect, transparency that empowers citizens to make informed choices about how they use public services and the standards they expect. And I think we are seeing the potential of this new approach and the new technology that makes it possible. We will be examining in America the Compsat model pioneered in New York, the Citistat model in Baltimore, applied not just to policing but across a whole range of local services.

The same potential exists in Britain as we role out neighbourhood policing right across the country, publishing more police performance data. We are interested in how local authorities across the country can use the internet and web portals to allow people to customise the information they receive about the services they use. I have looked at Shoreditch and Tower Hamlets at the digital bridge that allows police to alert residents as events happen, and residents to alert them about abandoned cars, about graffiti, about vandalism; in Lewisham texting to report and then texting back to say if the problem has been addressed.

Those working in government, take note. When he says ‘the importance I attach’… that’s an invitation to bid for some money. Quoting this speech in your proposal wouldn’t do any harm.