O2 is launching its Future Fund today (25 April), which aims to help councils’ ICT teams transform local government and communities using technological innovation.
Successful local authorities applying for the scheme will win access to O2 consultancy time, services and technology to help them deliver their winning project idea.
The Future Fund offers three funding packages worth £125,000, £75,000 and £50,000.
Over 60 councils are attending the launch event, which will focus on helping local councils develop more effective service delivery through reducing cost and improving efficiencies, finding new ways of engaging with citizens and empowering the community to do more for itself.
O2 is showcasing 17 different parts of its business at the launch, from Wi-Fi and M2M, social media expertise, mobile advertising and location-based services through to business engagement and apps development.
Councils will then be able to pick which selection of services to use to build their idea and put together their bid.
O2 director of business Ben Dowd (pictured) said: ‘O2 believes that the right application of technology has the potential to drive real change and our findings through our work with local government ICT departments support this belief.
'What is different is that the Future Fund will give a glimpse of what is possible with a bit of imagination and we will support the winning bids by providing investment in their IT infrastructure coupled with resource and expertise.
‘So it is up to the councils to determine how it can be applied to their own council, citizens or community, ultimately giving local government the ability to really shape their own destiny in a project they are passionate about.’
The Future Fund is the result of a consultation exercise by O2’s Local Government Futures Forum, which aims to understand what the role of ICT should be in modernising councils in challenging times.
O2 head of local government Neil Prior said: ‘Throughout our consultation we discovered a real passion to embrace technology and what is could deliver. This extended from chief executives to council members.
‘ICT really does have the ability to transform local government. At O2 we want to ensure that in difficult times we step up and help to provide some of the expertise and technology that can help to drive that change and act as an example for others.’
Applications will be judged by a panel of experts from O2 and independent parties. Councils will have eight weeks to develop and deliver their ideas, before selection takes place later this year.