A number of highly innovative initiatives to improve Local Authority services were showcased today at a seminar hosted by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC), which was held both in-person and virtually in Kilkenny Castle. 

The 5th annual Good Practice in Local Government seminar, organised by NOAC, in collaboration with the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and the County and City Management Association (CCMA), presented a range of local authority innovations across numerous areas such as digital solutions, sustainability, community engagement and cyber threats.

Malcom Noonan, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform opened the event and recognised the “commitment and innovation of local government” while addressing attendees.

The event was held as part of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Innovation Week 2022 and was attended by Chief Executives and Elected Representatives from the various local authorities within Ireland and allowed for an opportunity to showcase good practice within the local government sector.

Seven projects and innovations discussed at today’s seminar included:

Irish Local Authorities Sharing Cyber Information (ISAC) – Cork City Council

An ISAC allows for improved cyber situational awareness and is a type of information sharing community typically made up of organisations in the same sector.

Data Protection and the Path to Innovation – Limerick City and County Council

The project aims to tackle the challenges of data and process governance on an enterprise scale using learnings taken from the development of guidelines, principles and legislation associated with the processing of personal data.

Accelerating the use of drones for Local Government – Dublin City Council

Funded by DPER’s public sector innovation fund with the objective to better position Ireland in the application of drone technology. . Drone technology has the potential to enhance and support operations in areas such as emergency response, surveying and mapping, planning and enforcement and traffic and environmental monitoring.

Sustainable Energy Centre of Excellence – Tipperary County Council

Awarded funding by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage through the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, this project seeks to transform a 10 hectare strategic site located in Nenagh by delivering a demonstrator regeneration urban quarter Community.

Build to Share – Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council 

The concept of ‘Build to Share’ (BtS) is to establish an approach to the development of digital systems, ongoing governance structures and a means to showcase solutions so that local authorities can adopt them. The goal is to publicise the 7 digital BtS systems that have already been developed, and to encourage the further development and sharing of new solutions.

Leitrim Connected – Leitrim County Council

‘Leitrim Connected’ is an app development project that unifies communications from Leitrim County Council, Fire and Emergency Services, An Garda Síochána, and community alert groups. The project will be of benefit to both the agencies operating the system and citizens.

Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis – Local Authority Response – LGMA

Local authorities have provided significant support to national government in responding to the accommodation and other needs of those arriving from Ukraine. Due to the scale of the crisis, local authorities have adopted innovative approaches to the delivery of services and supports.

Pointing to the above projects, Minister Noonan said:

This Seminar is a wonderful avenue to highlight examples of innovation and best practice. The sharing of experiences is essential to continually bring about improvements to the delivery of services to our citizens”. He also noted his appreciation of the work carried out by NOAC in hosting the event and in providing independent oversight of the local government sector.

Speaking at the Good Practice Seminar, the Chair of NOAC, Michael McCarthy, welcomed the growth in the audience that the seminar now reaches and noted the tangible value of the event insofar as projects previously showcased have now been adopted by other authorities across a range of topics. He also acknowledged the “incredible efforts that have taken place to drive innovation and the wider effort to deliver better and more efficient services to the public”.

In his closing remarks the newly elected Chair of the CCMA, Frank Curran said:

Local authorities continually seek to adapt, innovate and provide best in class services. Whether improving our cities, towns and villages or streamlining internal business processes, our focus is always on cultivating efficiency and delivering quality public services to citizens. The projects on display today are just a sample of the innovations and operational excellence happening throughout the country, and we hope they will serve to inspire and further develop innovation within the local government sector.