LOTI: Weeknote 68


As we shared in Weeknote 67, we’ve been exploring the different ways that LOTI adds value to London local government: creating resources, offering products, managing projects, convening networks and running campaigns.

Table showing how LOTI works on resources, products, projects, networks and campaigns

How LOTI creates value for Boroughs

Last week, we were pleased to make headway with building up the library of resources we are creating for boroughs in four project areas: digital inclusion, assistive technology, Covid-19 Recovery: data exchange with VCS and innovation in procurement.

Digital Inclusion


Seven examples of great digital inclusion initiatives came out of our recent Digital Divide conference, held as a part of Digi Leaders week. You can view them on our project page.

Since then, we’ve been conducting web research to identify further examples of digital inclusion great practice, as conducted in cities around the world. As well as case studies of providing devices, data allowances and training, we’re hunting for innovative approaches that meet the needs of different groups affected by digital exclusion. We’ll publish the results of this research soon. In the meantime, if you know of great initiatives we should be aware of, please let us know. 

Assistive technology


In a similar vein, we’ve been scouring the internet for the best examples of the use of assistive technologies (AT). Boroughs have long been interested in the role of AT to help meet the needs of people with specific needs. That interest has grown as a result of the Covid pandemic, where many more people have been left isolated and in need of additional support. Our intention is to publish an open library of AT case studies. We are drawing from academic literature, council websites and interviews with practitioners, to support boroughs to better identify where new devices and service patterns can produce useful results. 

Our research to date has made plain that few case studies come with the level of detail boroughs would ideally like to inform their work (see our template of key information we advise boroughs to capture). Details about the cost, return on investment and even the size of the cohort on which the AT was tested are frequently missing. Other successful case studies are merely hinted at on council websites, but with almost no information provided. 

It’s worth saying that when information like this is so hard to find, it hinders local authorities from learning from each others’ experiences and reusing their work. All signatories of the Local Government Digital Declaration have committed to “working in the open…sharing our plans and experience, working collaboratively with other organisations, and reusing good practice.” Following this principle means everyone can learn faster. Keeping with the spirit of the declaration, LOTI remains committed to working in the open, sharing all the resources we create across our activities on our website, making it freely available to the whole local government sector.

Innovation in Procurement 


Last Friday marked the first year anniversary of the publication of City Tools: London. As you may be aware, this sought to improve London local government’s approach to technology procurement by helping them see which technologies and contracts power each of their services with a Power BI Dashboard and Insights Report.

A year later, our desired outcome is to make it even easier for boroughs – and the innovative businesses who wish to support them – to engage with this data through the creation of Thirty3: a platform we’ve developed with the GLA and Nitrous London

Last week, LOTI’s Jay Saggar published an article, outlining the challenges and opportunities of getting boroughs onboarded on the platform and ensuring their data is up to date. A few days later, our partners at Nitrous London published a complimentary post about our joint aspirations for the platform.

Making this kind of procurement and technologies data searchable and useable is one key step. But if boroughs want to ensure their tenders are open to a broader and more innovative set of technology suppliers, we know they need to change their approach to procurement as well. For that reason, over the past few months, we’ve been working with GovTech accelerator PUBLIC, in a project led by Paul Neville (Director of Digital & ICT for Waltham Forest) to develop an innovation in procurement toolkit, to provide advice on what to do at each stage of the procurement lifecycle. 

Last week we released a prototype of the toolkit, which we will develop and adapt to meet the needs of the local government community. For more information about this project, view the guest blog by PUBLIC’s Johnny Hugill.

Data Exchange with the VCS – User Guide and Final Report Published


During the COVID-19 crisis, councils and Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) organisations collaborated to provide vital support services to those in need. Working together in this way demonstrated the value of collaboration but also highlighted some of the barriers to LOTI’s ‘Better Partnerships’ aspiration.

The London Borough of Camden and Central Bedfordshire Council alongside LOTI and the GLA successfully won funding from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government’s (MHCLG) COVID-19 Challenge to take forward a project to discover, prototype and test a solution to data exchange (full details are available on the project page). We wanted to support the development of a resource that is reliable, scalable and reusable by local authorities. Last week, we reviewed the final deliverables from the project: a final report and User Guide to running Community Insights Projects

VCS and Council Data Exchange Project November 2020

The User Guide is a working document to support future Community Insights Projects. By bringing together VCS staff and council data experts, boroughs can combine their strengths and capacity to explore how different types of quantitative and qualitative data can be used to deliver better support to residents during the pandemic and beyond. The report and guide will help to address how future collaborations can identify shared ‘blindspot’ issues, plan, analyse and respond as one.

Community Insights Projects - User Guide

We will be iterating this guide as Camden and Central Bedfordshire take forward their pilot Community Insights Project, which will focus on food poverty and digital inclusion. We would love to hear what you think, so please feel free to add any comments you have directly to the User Guide or email jay.saggar@loti.london.

This Week


This week, the LOTI Central Team will be:

  1. Meeting with all our members to share the latest project updates and next steps.
  2. Meeting with colleagues from Sharing Cities to discuss the outputs of our Internet of Things project.
  3. Finalising plans for how we help boroughs implement the guidance from our Innovation in Procurement toolkit on specific procurement opportunities, starting with housing services.

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Weeknote
by Eddie Copeland
16 November 2020 ·