FuturefundFor many of us, our local council may not be the first place that springs to mind when it comes to tapping into a pool of technology innovation. Think again. Last year, O2 set out to find out what makes the technology minds in our local government departments tick.

What we found was really exciting – local government ICT departments are just bursting with ideas to develop new services for councils and citizens – but like many organisations, lack of funding and resource often means that getting these ideas from concept to reality, simply isn’t possible.

O2 believes in enabling innovation, so we've recently launched The Future Fund – our new dragon’s den style programme designed especially to help local council IT teams across the UK take control of their own destinies by creating new and innovative services for their staff and citizens.

On April 25, we asked 60 local councils to join us at our launch event in Stratford-upon-Avon, where we officially opened the doors for applications. Applicants will be encouraged to develop services against three broad themes: reducing cost and improving efficiencies; finding new ways of engaging with citizens; and empowering the community to do more for itself.

The Future Fund is comprised of three grant funding packages up to the value of £125,000, £75,000 and £50,000. Successful local authorities applying for the scheme will be awarded access to a combination of O2 consultancy time, services and technology to help them turn their project ideas from a vision, to a practical reality. Winners will be announced this summer – so watch this space. And if you work for a local council IT department and your team has a great idea for how technology could help improve services for your staff and citizens, why not apply by visiting www.o2.co.uk/futurefund

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