What’s LOTI working on in Year 4?
Who can believe where the time has gone? This July, LOTI marked its third anniversary. You can read all about our work and achievements in our annual report blog and video.
In this article, I’d like to give you a flavour of what LOTI will be working on in its fourth year. (Alternatively, watch this video for the same overview.)
One of our core missions is to put digital and data innovation – and all their powerful tools and methods – at the service of London’s major challenges. As we share that message with different policy and service teams, we’ve tried to simplify the way we describe the value we can bring. In short, we can offer our amazing community of data, technology and innovation professionals from across our membership. We have expertise in technology and data tools and approaches. And we have a set of powerful methods that help us use collaboration and innovation to get good things done.
Of course, we can only do so many things well at one time. Based on feedback from our members, we’ll focus our efforts on three outcome areas: Net Zero, Digital Inclusion and Social Care.Below are highlights of what we plan to do in each area over the next 12 months.
Unless boroughs have access to people with the right skills and experiences, none of the incredible opportunities concerning digital transformation will follow. Yet boroughs struggle to recruit the talent they need, particularly in the face of stiff salary competition from the private sector.
In response, we’re increasing the recruitment support we offer to our members. We now work with expert headhunters to help boroughs approach the jobs market in more innovative, thoughtful and effective ways. We’re building up our library of exemplar job descriptions, and we’ll be developing more sophisticated salary benchmarking tools. Beyond this, we’ll be sharing the message that for those looking for a career with positive social impact, there are few more energising places to work than local government.
Even with these efforts, it remains unlikely that every borough can have all the skills they want in-house. That’s why we’re working to set up a common pool of talented professionals in hard-to-fill roles, which can serve all our members.
We must also grow our own talent. We’re actively seeking partnerships with corporates and training providers who can help us develop and offer high-value skills courses to those already working in local government digital, tech and innovation roles.
Technology powers every public service and council back office function, so it’s vital that boroughs have the right tools for the job. Our first initiative is to help boroughs develop better relationships with good technology providers. It’s well known that councils feel poorly served by some of the legacy tech companies that dominate the local government market. Yet they struggle to find the capacity to engage with other suppliers who could be allies on their digital transformation journeys. Meanwhile, we know that many SMEs want to tell local government about their solutions but struggle to find the right person to approach. We’re therefore partnering with techUK to facilitate better conversations between the two sides to ensure boroughs can find the very best partners and technologies available.
Cybersecurity is our second area of focus. All boroughs already take cybersecurity extremely seriously. We’ll be focusing on piloting ideas where a combination of innovation and collaboration can help them stay ahead of the hackers. We’re currently piloting an advanced Attack Surface Mapping capability with seven members, with a view to rolling out across our membership in the New Year.
Lastly, we’re working on smart city solutions that support London’s net-zero goals. Back in May, LOTI held a design sprint to explore how tech, data, innovation and behavioural insights can help tackle climate change. Eleven ideas emerged, several of which LOTI is now seeking to pilot. One of the first will explore how better tools and data can speed up the process of securing planning approval for Londoners wishing to add energy-saving measures to their properties.
We’ve recently appointed the capital’s first ever pan-London information governance lead, who will be responsible for speeding up the process of creating data sharing agreements that can enable vital public services to be delivered and innovation to take place more rapidly.
We’re also working on data ethics. Many data ethics frameworks are available. Yet organisations often feel uncertain about how to put them into action. Following LOTI’s publication of its practical data ethics recommendations, we’re supporting our members by offering LOTI staff, professionally trained in data ethics by the Open Data Institute, to help them think through the ethical implications of their data project ideas.
Lastly, we want to run more data collaboration projects. The most effective way to drive further demand in the use of data – and to help boroughs invest in the skills and resources they need to do this well – is to use data to bring about real improvements for their core business and the services they provide. We’re already working on projects that aim to tackle aspects of homelessness and the cost of living crisis. We’ll seek further opportunities as the year progresses.
This theme is dedicated to helping boroughs realise the full potential of digital innovation in its broadest sense. This includes making better use of tech and data, but starts with the assumption that bold changes are also needed to councils’ business models, ways of working, culture, mindset, policies, partnerships and more.
One area that’s in vital need of innovation is social care. LOTI’s heard from many social care professionals how current costs are unsustainable, demand is rising, and outcomes lag behind what they’d like to see. Incremental change is not enough. That’s why this November, LOTI will be hosting a design sprint to explore radical new service models in the field of adult social care, which we plan to follow up by supporting two pilots that test the art of the possible.
The citizen voice should be at the heart of all transformation efforts. We’ll therefore be helping boroughs learn from global leading practice and apply digital democracy tools and approaches to inject citizens’ voices, ideas and values into their thinking and decision-making.
Finally, LOTI is bringing innovation to tackle digital exclusion in London. We’re delighted to be working with the Good Things Foundation, with new funding from the GLA, to develop London’s first digital inclusion service, Get Online London. The aim is to ensure that boroughs and VCS organisations who come into contact with digitally excluded people have a simple means to provide them with the device, connectivity and skills support they need to get online.
Stay in Touch
We’ll share details of our work as we go. Sign up for LOTI’s new newsletter, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, or check the website for all the latest updates.