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How is Pipeline helping to fix the plumbing?

LocalGov Digital is the association for professionals working in and around local government digital, of which I'm currently Chair. We're the voice of local government digital practitioners and offer a range of services to our members for free, to aid collaboration between councils to help deliver better, cheaper services. One such service is Pipeline.

Back in 2013 I wrote about a Kickstarter for Local Government.

The idea was to kick start collaboration between councils by creating a platform on which could councils could publish details of the projects they were working on, and update people as they progressed. Its aim was to stop duplication; doing the same thing separately in hundreds of councils across the country, and therefore reduce waste and cost across the sector.

In 2014 I created the first iteration of Pipeline built in C# on an open source wiki, and quickly roped in Ben Cheetham to help develop it with me.

The initial response was great, with over 50 councils signing up to the alpha and adding their projects, and whilst Pipeline demonstrated a desire for collaboration across local government, a gradual decrease in its use also showed that without continued development and support, initiatives such as this won't achieve their full potential.

Doing the hard work to maintain interest in an initiative was the theme of my first ever blog post and without resource to keep promoting Pipeline, in 2016 and 2017 use declined further.

In 2018 Pipeline was resurrected by Hackney, who invested their time and money in bringing it back to life, developing it to include portfolio management too. Pipeline's activity feed used to show sporadic updates over a month or so, now some days it just about fits in the activity of one day. This wouldn't have happened without investment from Hackney.

Which brings us to 2019, where the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have committed up to £80k to develop Pipeline further. If you're a member of LocalGov Digital then I suspect they'll want to hear from you, so keep an eye our website for any opportunities to get involved in shaping Pipeline.

From a side project to create a tool to aide collaboration, to a service used by councils to collaborate on their portfolios of work, I'm enthusiastic about the future for Pipeline. The more councils get involved, the more value to the sector, so if you haven't already, please do and help LocalGov Digital to facilitate the creation of better, cheaper local public services.

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