Guidance on Generative AI

Over the Summer of 2023, LOTI worked with its members and partners to create guidance for local authorities on the topic of Generative AI (GenAI). GenAI is a type of AI that can create realistic human-like text, images, code and art in response to questions (prompts) written by users in normal language.

LOTI ran a public survey, interviewed council officers and other experts on AI, ran two roundtables and conducted desk research to create these documents. Additionally, LOTI worked with FacultyAI to create our guidance aimed at CIOs and data leaders with their expert input. GenAI will be particularly impactful in local government because it:

  • can produce a range of useful outputs, like text, audio, images and code.
  • responds to natural language questions, so any officer (or resident) can use it;
  • is very good at understanding different types of data – useful given councils have large amounts of unstructured data in a large variety of formats.

Equally, whilst government want to be ambitious users of GenAI, organisations also recognise the need to be responsible innovators. In particular, they are concerned about:

  • trust and transparency (including issues around hallucination as well as the potential for mis/disinformation).
  • ethics and bias in the models
  • data privacy
  • when to use (and not use) GenAI

LOTI has created four resources to guide local authorities to make sure they are able to confidently approach aspects of Generative AI. All of these resources can be accessed in both .pdf and .doc format in our public drive, for anyone who wants to adapt any of these resources for their own organisation.

Generative AI – Guidance for Local Authority Leaders

This guidance is aimed at local authority leaders who want to understand the basics of what GenAI is, how it might impact their council, and how their council can avoid and mitigate the risks of GenAI. This is designed to be printed (double-sided) as a one-pager. Access the guidance

Generative AI – Guidance for All Staff

This guidance is aimed at all staff, assuming a basic knowledge of GenAI. It contains practical tips for using GenAI better in their own work, a list of six steps to take to be responsible users, as well as an exemplar breakdown of how they might use GenAI in a project in their own work. Access the guidance

Generative AI – State of Play Report

This report summarises the findings of LOTI research conducted in June and July 2023. It is a snapshot of different perspectives shared by local authorities. Access the report

Generative AI – Guidance for CIOs

This report, created with FacultyAI, contains guidance on the responsible use of GenAI, technical guidance for councils, how to develop use cases, how to govern GenAI, and a bank of use cases that councils could and should be aware of. Access the guidance

Other useful resources from peer organisations

Other organisations have already done some fantastic work on GenAI that we want to signpost.

Socitm has created two resources that might be of particular interest:

Innovate(US) created a 13 minute hands-on tutorial video for public sector professionals to help them use GenAI in their work. The video explains how to “write memos, translate legalese and government-speak into plain English, and summarise meetings”.

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