A group of 11 local councils have agreed to take part in a digital transformation programme which aims to help them improve their digital approach to healthcare. 

The programmes being offered by transformation agency Rethink Partners and the Local Government Association (LGA) include ‘Strengthening Sector Capability’, where local authorities will receive direct tailored support from Rethink on all aspects of care technology, “Digital Leadership”, with 2-2-1 mentoring and “Digital Platform”, which is an open-access website.

The initiative, which follows on from the Care Technology Support Programme that Rethink Partners and the LGA ran in early 2021, aims to help the councils adopt digital tools and solutions in social care.

The Strengthening Sector Capability segment of the programme will bring three local councils together to co-produce tools and content to share with the sector and create a community of practice.

Authorities participating in this section of the programme include Birmingham City Council, Telford and Wrekin Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Dudley Metropolitan Council. Lincolnshire and Cornwall council have also agreed to take part.

Abby Vella, digital lead at West Midland Adult Social Services, said: “It’s great to be part of this exciting new programme with Rethink and LGA. We’ll be working hard to create a masterclass and best practice for the sector.

“Digital access and inclusion for all is something I’m really passionate about and this is just another building block for local authorities around the country.”

The Digital Leadership programme, run by Rethink Partners, offers exclusive access to their exemplar leadership. It includes coaching sessions for leaders and aspiring leaders within councils and an ongoing programme of support in addition to structured content and sessions.

The local governments involved include Norfolk County Council, Hampshire County Council, Gateshead Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council.

The Digital Platform is an online open resource that will collate all the information from the masterclasses and other resources, both from Rethink Partners’ widespread collection of thought leadership articles and external sources that will help councils expand their knowledge of implementing digital care technology and improving lives.

Rethink Partners and the LGA’s collaboration programme is not the first example of local authorities committing to a more digitalised approach to healthcare this year, after Essex County Council signed a £9m deal for health and care technology earlier in 2021.