Councils back launch of open source library for digital services

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Today marks the launch of a community driven repository of shared material where local authorities and partners can collaborate by uploading and downloading assets for building digital services.

Local authorities already sharing and using resources on the ‘Jadu Library’ include Swindon Borough Council, The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Norwich City Council, Canterbury City Council, London Borough of Hounslow and Birmingham City Council, with more pledging to follow.

Dr Mark Thompson, a key architect of the UK government’s open IT strategy and senior lecturer at Cambridge Judge Business School who co-authored the recent Green Paper ‘Better Public Services: A Manifesto’ says…

In the UK there are 430 councils that at a business process and technology level are pretty much replicating versions of the same things. It makes no sense to be reinventing the wheel time and time again.

This is the first time I’ve seen anyone go anywhere near providing such shared infrastructure in the local government space and it’s vitally needed. The old ways of specifying some over complicated stack are becoming progressively unacceptable. There simply isn’t any money left to support the old way of doing things.”

The Jadu Library enables the sharing and reusing of work and is helping councils to become hubs for economic and social exchange. Rather than having to build online services themselves, councils can capitalise on what is already available and use service specialists.

Although initially populated by Jadu users, the library is based on a github repository that can hold any type of asset and therefore generic assets - such as process flows, test scripts and service design documentation - can all be surfaced and shared. Jadu will be encouraging all public sector organisations to use the library and share their service components so that digital services can finally be consumed as utilities across the board.

Angela Probert, Chief Operating Officer at Birmingham City Council - Europe’s largest local authority - says…

Effective collaboration can be a game-changer for the delivery of public services in this country. Rather than spending time reinventing the same services time and time again, the Jadu Library enables councils to work and innovate together.”

Swindon Borough Council recently re-used Green Waste and Complaints processes developed by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and is sharing workflows of its own.

Glyn Peach, Chief Information Officer at Swindon Borough Council says…

Local authorities are not special, we often do lots of the same things. Some big outsources might like to tell us we’re special so that we pay for them to build things for us that they built for our neighbours six months ago, but we’re not. The Jadu Library ethos is different, it’s about sharing and reusing.”

We’ve benefited by using Green Waste and Complaints processes developed elsewhere, and other councils are free to benefit from the processes we’ve developed at Swindon. We’re not in competition. This is about collaboration to the benefit of all.”

Alison Alexander, Managing Director of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, says…

We are very supportive of this initiative and are pleased to be part of a community that is realising the benefits of working together. There is great value in being able to access the forms and workflows built, tried and uploaded on the Jadu Library.”

Nikki Rotsos, Director of Customers, Communication and Culture at Norwich City Council, which is a leading contributor to the library, says…

When asked, we were happy to share our successes with other authorities. The Jadu Library is a great way of sharing work and know-how, and we will be looking for opportunities to review best practice from other authorities and welcome a place for a shared community environment that takes a fresh approach.”

Suraj Kika, Chief Executive Officer of Jadu says...

If local government and public services are to continue to deliver value for people and communities, it is essential that the ‘Lego Bricks’ of digital services are shared and reused. Sharing must be driven by Government - but it will only work if government suppliers are also 100% behind it. That’s why Jadu is the first to leverage the digital manifesto and begin to facilitate the collaboration that IT in government badly needs.

This is not limited to the UK. We’ve just entered a partnership with the LGAQ (Local Government Association of Queensland) in Australia, which supports almost 100 local authority websites. Local authority services in Australia bear a striking resemblance to local services in the UK. This gives ‘Local Government as a Platform’ truly global potential.”

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Published: 15th May 2018