Weeknote 17 of 2021

Ethical implications of data collaboration

Last week the members of our Mapping Digital Exclusion project, which LOTI is supporting as part of our Covid Innovation Fund, held their first workshop to consider the data ethics implications of the project.

As part of running a responsible data project, we’ll be considering if the data we’re using and the insights that are drawn from it will have a positive or negative impact on individuals and communities. Where potential negative impacts are noted, it’s vital that any project thinks carefully about whether any mitigations can be put in place, or if a wholly different approach is needed. As this is a new area for many organisations in both the public and private sectors, we’re using this as an opportunity to learn and share as we do. As a result, we’ve committed to sharing our methodology as part of the final outputs of this project.

Our first action was to decide which data ethics tool would be most appropriate for the project to use, with the following frameworks up for consideration:

At the same meeting, the project team reviewed the second iteration of the Digital Exclusion map for London. This has been developed and was presented by Paul Hodgson (Senior Manager – City Data, Greater London Authority). The map currently includes data from the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Hard To Count data set. The next iteration will include additional data sets that relate to digital exclusion factors identified in Westminster’s existing research. All will be vetted as part of our data ethics approach.

Commercial routes to market

As part of LOTI’s Innovation in Procurement workstream, Hounslow, Kingston and Southwark are working with PUBLIC to implement an innovative approach to sourcing housing management solutions.

To help design how LOTI boroughs can get the most value from joint commercial exercises, PUBLIC led a workshop discussing procurement methods and practices that enable boroughs to purchase innovative technology alongside core enterprise systems from the outset. The workshop focused on the use of existing Crown Commercial Service (CCS) routes to market, including G-Cloud, Data and Applications Solutions (DAS) and Spark Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS), which could be used dynamically to meet London boroughs’ needs.

A short primer was provided in advance to prepare participants for the discussion on commercial routes to market. The full recording is now available to watch online.

Life after Lockdown

You may remember that LOTI began a crowdsourcing exercise some weeks back to collate resources that could help inform councils’ thinking on the future of their workplaces, including the use of council buildings, supporting staff wellbeing and rethinking how to deliver resident-facing services.

As a team, we too have been thinking about how we can do this well. We’ve broken the conversation up into several parts. To kick things off, we shared our thoughts, concerns and aspirations about in-person and remote working, and how that impacts our activities with our members. Given that we collaborate with so many different organisations, working remotely has worked in our favour as it’s easier to get 20 people on a video call than in a room. But we recognise there are downsides. In particular, we noted that working fully online makes it harder to have more creative, free-flowing conversations about future plans, purpose and strategy. As a result, among many other actions, we agreed that – subject to government guidelines – we’ll start meeting physically as a team once a month to have those sorts of conversations – and enjoy some team lunches and drinks too!

In relation to how our work impacts our members, we’ve tried to consider this from an inclusion and diversity perspective. From the very beginning, we’ve been committed to working in the open, designing and delivering our projects as democratically and inclusively as possible. This, from our perspective, became more convenient during the pandemic as much of our engagement took place online. However, we’re increasingly aware that as we take on the mantel of trying to support London boroughs to serve digitally excluded Londoners, then we too should consider how our ways of working can be truly accessible.Who is excluded and dissuaded from LOTI



Above is the Jamboard we worked on as a team. We discussed how our approaches and projects may exclude or dissuade specific groups or individuals from participating. We explored who might be likely to fall within these groups, and what steps could take to mitigate against this. Our thinking is still very much in its infancy, but we hope that by doing so, we can inspire other organisations to do the same, and collectively adapt to meet the greater need.

Coming up this week

This week, we will be:

  1. Holding our All-Member meeting to discuss LOTI’s Year 3 Strategy.
  2. Meeting with ONS Data Science Campus colleagues to finalise plans for our Data Science Training Programme, which is in development.
  3. Meeting with Amazon Web Services to discuss the development of the Digital, Data and Innovation capability model prototype.

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Eddie Copeland
4 May 2021 ·
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