Originating from the e-Innovations programme, the Digital Challenge offers local government the opportunity to create a world class exemplar of a 'wired up community'.
The challenge is to use technology to transform the face of public services - central or local - to better meet the needs of local communities, including those that are most disadvantaged.
Minister for local e-government, Jim Fitzpatrick, announced £9 million of joint funding from Government and Industry to drive ICT innovation when he launched the Digital Challenge in December 2005. The Digital Challenge winner will receive more than £7 million and ten regional finalists will each receive £200,000.
The successful bid will need to provide evidence of a highly focused and effective partnership of public, private, community and voluntary sectors. It should also make a real and significant change for the local community as quickly as possible.
Launching the Challenge, Mr Fitzpatrick said, “I am very excited by the Digital Challenge - it has the potential to bring real change to peoples lives through the innovative use of ICT.
"It will also act as beacon for service providers, government, and the rest of the ICT community on how they can make a real difference to ordinary people's lives. I look forward with keen interest to see what kinds of projects will be developed as part of this challenge. The Digital Challenge will drive forward improvements in local services and in local e-government which are at the core of ODPM's work.”
The Digital Challenge has the potential to make a real difference to people's lives, providing streamlined access to local government services, through a variety of channels. Winning bids will meet three fundamental requirements:
- Empowerment – The winning bid will be able to show how it will use ICT to give new choice, voice and empowerment to citizens; it should be about enabling citizens to participate in their communities, as well as gaining access to services.
- Service Transformation – This must demonstrate radical innovation in changing how we offer services to people - using ICT to transform the whole way a service is provided; used and experienced.
- Efficiency – Local Authorities must show that after year one their initiatives are sustainable and cost effective and be prepared to showcase these to other local authorities in years two and three, acting as the UK exemplar.