Weeknote 16 of 2021

Validating our approaches with members

Last week we held two meetings with LOTI members. The first was an Advisory Panel meeting where we shared the approach we’ll be taking to support their colleagues’ efforts to bridge the digital divide in the capital, and asked for their insights on how we can help London boroughs design their future ways of working now that lockdowns are coming to an end.

Having had a year-long experiment in mass remote working, we heard panel members’ thoughts and ideas on how boroughs would like to operate once it is possible for staff to return to the office. Covid recovery presents a real opportunity to rethink how councils work and how they can best support their residents. Technology, digital approaches and data can enable some of those new ways of working, and we were thrilled to hear CEOs and Heads of Services share that this is a priority, and one that they consider to be a long-term commitment. There was a resounding call for LOTI to support their thinking on this by sharing good practice between boroughs and convening safe spaces for different service area leads to discuss and experiment.

Later in the week, we met with our core membership of Chief Digital and Information Officers (CDIOs). The slides are available here. We provided a brief update on our current projects and made specific requests for their input. One of those is for our Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme (DIIP). In advance of the programme launch in June, we are exploring the potential for upcycled devices from boroughs, other public sector organisations and London businesses to fill part of the device gap. To that end, CDIOs were invited to complete a survey to help us to better understand how London boroughs use and retire old devices. The full research brief can be read here.

We’ve been taking some time as a team to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned over the course of our Thirty3/CityTools project, which aimed to provide the evidence on which we can design better forms of technology procurement. Given the difficulty that boroughs have reported in sharing what technologies they’re using linked to contracts data, we refined our ask to completing a list of their top 10 largest / most significant IT systems instead. It is hoped that this much simpler ask, setting out what contracts are expiring in the next 12 months or so, can inform our approach to facilitating collaboration in our attempt to innovate in procurement, without overwhelming procurement and IT teams. More on this to come in future weeknotes and blogs.

With the end of our second year in office looming, we’re conscious that we need to carve out time to reflect on what’s worked and what can be improved upon as a collective. To that end, we’ll be dedicating our next All Member session, in a fortnight, to hearing directly from CDIOs on what comes next for LOTI in Year 3. We shared with the group the diagram below to clarify the key ways in which we work, and we asked them to consider the following questions:

  • Examples of innovation: What’s the best format to provide this so that it’s most helpful to your colleagues?
  • Value: Where do you feel working through LOTI has provided the greatest value? Where does taking a collaborative approach not feel worth the additional effort?
  • Collaboration: On what themes is there the greatest potential benefit from a collaborative approach? (e.g. cybersecurity, data collaboration, etc).
  • Capacity: What are the highest value areas or roles in which LOTI could offer the capacity to boroughs?
Diagram showing LOTI's ways of working

Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme

Last week, we held our first workshop for the DIIP. In this workshop, we wanted to play back the submissions we’d received so far from boroughs and their voluntary and charity sector partners on what different digital inclusion projects and initiatives were and currently are underway in London boroughs. See the details below.

It was good to see London boroughs so well represented, with initiatives by over 2/3 of boroughs captured in the crowdsourcing exercise and over the course of the workshop itself. During the workshop, we invited boroughs to share their views in three exercises. The first focused on understanding what’s worked well in their own digital inclusion initiatives. The second explored the challenges and barriers they’ve had to overcome, which we’ll need to be mindful of prior to kicking off this programme in earnest. Lastly, we held a final exercise to better understand the opportunities they saw for working collaboratively as part of our programme. A full summary of the workshop is available to read, here.

Workshop 1 Summary Notes LOTI Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme

Later in the week, we joined the Pan-London Digital Inclusion working group meeting to validate our approach and get their input on whether there were any gaps in the responses we’d received to date. It was good to hear that we were treading the right line, and they were keen to feed into the development and delivery of the programme in the long term. We’ve incorporated their views into the summary above.

Pan London Digital Inclusion Leads Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme

Over the coming weeks, we’ll get to work on planning for our second workshop, which we hope to hold on 25 May. Details to follow.

Coming up this week

It’s a busy week for the LOTI Central team. This week, we will be:

  1. Hosting the latest Data Science Network meet-up where we’ll hear from Hackney’s Anna Gibson regarding their HMO project and new data lake. Please click here to register.
  2. Hosting our latest Show & Tell, sharing details about the Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme. Please click here to register.
  3. Hosting a ‘Commercial routes to market’ session in collaboration with PUBLIC. Please click here to register.

For the daily download on all things LOTI, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

Eddie Copeland
26 April 2021 ·
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