Ireland Covid-19

Local government innovation – breaking new ground in Limerick

Photo: Hannah Muirhead 2020

Limerick City and County Council has been recognised by the internationally renowned US foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies for the Council’s work in local government innovation. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. The organisation focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million.

The Council has been highlighted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and featured in its newsletter ‘Spark’ which is distributed to thousands of innovation subscribers and contacts across the world and shared across its social media platforms. In achieving this Limerick has become the first Irish city to feature in the Bloomberg publication showcasing the local authority’s commitment to innovation in the delivery of services to the people of Limerick.

Among the projects recognised by Bloomberg, the council was recognised for its creation of a new Covid 19 communications tool as a channel for employee feedback providing a smartphone app for outdoor staff who don’t always have access to email. The app enables staff to keep up with their work and key information on how to stay safe while doing so. It has since become a central platform for information related to staff health and wellbeing, leave policies, counselling services and more, particularly with remote working.

Limerick City and County Council set up the Business Improvement Department in 2017, a small dynamic team trained in Service Design and Lean tools headed by Aoife Madden who says that the local authority places ‘huge emphasis’ on driving innovation.

“The Business Improvement team works to ensure services are citizen-focused and seeks opportunities to leverage data and collaborate in the improvement of all services,” she pointed out. “Our team is lucky that driving innovation is a top priority in our organisation and is a key element of our Corporate Plan, we are always looking at ways to innovate, improve and do things better. We have been working with Bloomberg Philanthropies to share information and collaborate with other local government bodies around the world and with thousands of international subscribers to the newsletter, Limerick City and County Council has been put firmly on the map as one of Europe’s most innovative local authorities.”

Limerick City and County Council Chief Executive Dr Pat Daly said it was ‘a great honour’ for the local authority to be recognised by one of the world’s top philanthropic organisations.

“Innovation in local government is a key priority for us and particularly over the last few months as we led Limerick through this pandemic and are now getting ready to re-open our city and county towns,” he said. “I would like to congratulate Aoife and her team on being recognised. Our Limerick brand is all about the energetic and driven attitude that has been forged through Limerick’s transformative journey and the open-minded approach that create the conditions for innovation to thrive. I can think of no better example of the edge and embrace of Limerick than this honour which showcases the local authority’s commitment to innovation in the delivery of services to the people of Limerick.”

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