Weeknote 20 of 2021

Supporting the development of Good Services

Over Christmas, members of the LOTI team exchanged gifts. One of which was Lou Downe’s book – Good Services. Last week, Genta Hajri (Programme Manager, LOTI) and Jay Saggar (Programme Manager for Data, Smart City & Cyber Security, LOTI) attended Lou ‘Scaling Good Services’ training course.

While LOTI doesn’t directly deliver services to residents or customers in the same way that a local authority or private sector company might, we joined the course because we felt that the principles of what makes a good service can inform how LOTI runs projects and initiatives.

Here are three key takeaways Genta and Jay took from the course:

  1. Thinking about LOTI’s offer to boroughs as a service can help us design our projects and initiatives to be as easy to understand and engage with as possible. Good services should be: Easy to find, easy to understand (what’s on offer, to whom and how it works) and set expectations correctly.
  2. Attending training alongside colleagues who directly deliver services helped us to better understand the challenges boroughs face, and contextualise some of the challenges they’ve often shared in workshops. These include aligning incentives across different siloed teams, and getting the senior management buy-in or permission needed to effect change in their organisation.
  3. Idealistic pragmatism is the way forward! Change is hard but that shouldn’t stop us from being ambitious in what we want to achieve. However, it’s sometimes about taking small, iterative steps on the path to a big goal and recognising that it may take time to achieve the large scale positive change we want to achieve.

Lou’s is one of a number of brilliant training courses available to public sector colleagues wanting to learn how to innovate and better serve their residents. We hope that sharing the training and development tools and approaches that LOTI uses will inspire colleagues in other organisations wishing to invest in the same for their staff. For more information about Lou Downe’s programme, please visit the site here.

Supporting boroughs’ approaches to Data Ethics

Data is one of boroughs’ most valuable assets. If used well, it can help them to make better decisions, improve services and better serve residents. However, boroughs have a responsibility to use data not just legally but also ethically, transparently and in a way that builds public trust.

To support boroughs in fulfilling that responsibility, LOTI is working to establish practical ethics processes that can be embedded into councils’ ways of working. To kick off this work, we are supporting initiatives in two boroughs that are testing different approaches. Colleagues from Camden are working to create a Data Charter informed by engagement with residents. Meanwhile, colleagues from Brent have established a Data Ethics Board and governance process.

LOTI will be supporting these – and other boroughs’ – projects over the coming months in order to document lessons learnt and share best practice. We also want to understand how these two initiatives might be connected together to become a model for how all councils can engage with citizens and put in place robust internal governance to ensure that data is always used responsibly. We are interested in engaging with more boroughs, so please do get in touch if your organisation is working on a related initiative that could support this agenda.

Learning about and Sharing Digital Inclusion activities in London

In order to assess where LOTI can best propose specific interventions on digital inclusion, we undertook a crowdsourcing activity to capture details of current initiatives taking place across London. By having this baseline, we’re better able to see where we might do something useful, and have a baseline from which progress can be measured.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to those who took the time to share what they’re working on and what’s in the pipeline. We’ve received information about 57 digital inclusion projects so far across 28 London boroughs.

Last week, LOTI commissioned a researcher to interrogate the information shared with us by borough officers and voluntary sector organisations. Over the coming weeks, Will Bibby will meet with boroughs to ensure we have sufficient detail on the nature, scale and context of each initiative, and draft case studies and a final report, which we hope to share back with you in due course. The research brief is available to read here.

Coming up this week

  1. LOTI will be hosting a Show & Tell where Matthew Caine (Head of Digital & Data, Hackney) will share details about their API platform development project & we’ll explore its relevance to LOTI’s Innovation in Procurement project. Please click here to register to attend.
  2. Holding workshop 2 for the LOTI Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme. If you lead on Digital Inclusion activity in your borough, please register to attend here.
  3. Holding the latest Data Science and Heads of Data and BI networks meet-ups. If you’re a Head of Data or Business Intelliegence in a London public sector organisation and would like to engage with this network, please contact Onyeka Onyekwelu.

For the latest on all things LOTI, follow us on Twitter.

Eddie Copeland
24 May 2021 ·
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