Oflog: Will It ACTUALLY Make a Difference?
Updated: Aug 23
What exactly is Oflog?
This new initiative aims to provide authoritative and accessible data and analysis about the performance of local government, supporting its improvement. The move towards data-driven thinking aligns with society's growing reliance on data to inform decision-making.
However, the key challenge will be making it relevant to local government, central government and citizens; unless it is usable by local government to help shape policy decisions, it risks becoming just another government data initiative that fails to deliver.
Been there, done that?
The journey towards enabling digital transformation in the public sector has seen a succession of initiatives that have enjoyed varying degrees of success. Over the past twenty-five years, GovMetric has witnessed these highs and lows firsthand. Seeking insights into the challenges that lie ahead for Oflog, we turned to our founder, Nic Streatfeild, who shared the historical context of local government’s digital transformation.
The catalyst for change can be traced back to the 1999 Modernising Government Whitepaper, which set the stage for digital transformation. During the eGov era, from 1999 to 2005, each council was required to report an IEG (Implementing Electronic Government) statement (for example) assessing their level of e-enablement. The focus during this period was on building the capacity to embrace e-government practices.
GovMetric was born within this environment, and as time progressed, the landscape evolved further. By 2005, the Government introduced National Indicators, notably NI14, which sought to measure not only supply and enablement but also effectiveness and efficiency. This marked a shift in recognising the importance of addressing Failure Demand as a critical issue for councils. GovMetric actively collaborated with the Cabinet Office, piloting NI14 with a group of councils to improve performance measurement.
However, the National Indicators came to an end in 2010, and subsequent Conservative governments did not replace the digital and customer measures, resulting in a weakening of the measurement practices across the sector.
What is the problem Oflog is trying to solve?
Fast forward to now, and there is no shared view of what good performance looks like, the data that is available can be challenging for central government, citizens, and other local authorities to use.
Oflog was created to address these challenges by making data consistent and easily accessible. Oflog’s main objectives are as follows:
Empower citizens with information about their local authority, enabling them to hold local leaders to account.
Increase local leaders’ and councils’ understanding of their relative performance, supporting them to improve and better innovate.
Increase central government’s understanding of local government performance, highlighting excellence and identifying risk of failure to facilitate timely and targeted support.
Oflog’s development will be an iterative process and its functions will develop over time to fulfil its long-term vision. You can familiarise yourself with the incremental plan below:
Will all this ACTUALLY make a difference?
The launch of Oflog marks a significant step towards improving transparency, accountability, and innovation in local governance. By empowering citizens with relevant information, supporting local leaders, and enabling timely interventions, Oflog has the potential to improve local government service delivery.
Going forward, we believe that bringing customer and citizen experience (CX/CitX) measures back to the national agenda is essential to restoring interest and commitment to citizen-centric digital transformation in the public sector. As the scope of Oflog expands, we’d like to see these measures included, to ensure that local government meets the actual needs and expectations of the people it aims to serve.
Karolis Duoba is the Marketing Manager of GovMetric, home of the leading Citizen Experience Management solution for the public sector.