Weeknote 21 of 2021

Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme

Last week, we held the second Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme (DIIP) workshop (the summary of workshop 1 can be read here). We’ve spent the time between workshops summarising feedback from boroughs and their voluntary sector partners, commissioning research, and meeting with potential project teams to hear more about ideas they’d like to try as part of this programme.

In workshop 2, we wanted to meet again with borough Digital Inclusion leads and their voluntary sector partners to review our initial list of project ideas, get their support and find out which boroughs might be interested in collaborating. The full summary of workshop 2 can be accessed here.

Below, we share our potential first-round of projects:

Project 1 and 2 – Mapping Digital Exclusion

This is an extension of the LOTI Covid Innovation Funded project to develop a London-wide map of digital exclusion to support the future targetting and development of borough services. The current project group, made up of Barnet, Brent, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark and Westminster are working together with colleagues from the Greater London Authority (GLA) to build a publicly available map on the London DataStore. This should help boroughs to identify areas of digital exclusion, the key groups affected, and the types of needs they may have.

More than a few boroughs are interested in supporting this work, and with this project due to complete at the end of June, the group is keen for the end product to be used and tested by other councils. LOTI’s Jay Saggar led the discussion for this project and invited feedback and for boroughs to express an interest in taking part in a further piece of work around developing the outputs from the Digital Exclusion Map.

Project 3 – Device Upcycling
Following a brief presentation of the initial findings from our independent researcher, we set out LOTI’s desired outcome for this project. Our working hypothesis is that London could significantly increase the number of devices that are available to benefit digitally excluded people by reducing the barriers to upcycling retired devices from the capital’s major corporate and public sector organisations. Having mapped the device retirement journey, we intend to test a variety of routes to upcycling using donated devices from a number public sector organisations.

There was broad willingness to take part in this project, with questions and reservations around the justification for the personas who benefit from device donation, and how we envisage rolling this out for the wider benefit of digitally excluded Londoners.

Project 4 – Digital Inclusion in temporary accommodation
This idea was presented by Joseph Small (Principal Policy Officer, London Councils). The desired outcome is to ensure that no Londoner is digitally excluded as a result of living in temporary accommodation (TA). The project was initially intended to be about ensuring all TA hostels have wifi, but we propose conducting a full discovery. We’ll start by holding a workshop with Digital Inclusion leads, Housing Directors and temporary accommodation providers to better understand the needs and circumstances of those who are digitally excluded and what interventions might help best.

Borough leads were appreciative of the approach to explore the wider picture and not jump to conclusions. We will be following up with those who expressed their willingness to be involved in this project in the coming weeks.

Project 5 – Community Makers
Last up was a previous contender for LOTI’s Covid Innovation Fund. Participants heard from Cat Kilkenny (Patient & Public Involvement Officer, Helix Centre, Imperial). You may remember that this project aims to equip community support groups with the right skills and knowledge to provide digitally inclusive services to people affected by dementia (including their carers). The project team aims to do so by developing a ‘Community Makers Network and Hub’ – designing and promoting a hybrid model for community support that makes the most of digital and face-to-face interactions. The team will apply co-design techniques and build on the digital engagement knowledge gained from the pandemic, to reach the most isolated people in the community.

We will be following up with the potential project team and interested boroughs in the coming weeks.

Full project details and subsequent discussions are available to read in the slides here.

Reconvening our Data networks

Last week we held two meet-ups for our Data networks.

The first was for our network of Data Scientists in the London public sector. We shared the latest on the LOTI and Office of National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus collaboration to develop the Data Science Skills Development Programme. The programme will focus on Data Matching and will be available across multiple public sector organisations, working in collaboration in learning clusters. It aims to develop the capability and skills of officers and provide practical demonstrations of the value of data science within London’s local government.

Also, following discussions on LOTI’s online network for Data Scientists, Libby Rogers (Data Scientist, GLA) shared an overview of Internal Packages. She explained that internal packages can be very specific for your organisation’s use case, encourage users to work in particular ways (i.e. follow best practices), and allow users to communicate institutional knowledge. The slides from the meet-up are available here.

To conclude the week, we also convened the latest Data Leaders’ network for Heads of Data and Business Intelligence working in London’s public sector. We were joined by Heads of Data and BI from Camden, Barnet, Metropolitan Police, London Fire Brigade, GLA, Lambeth, Barking & Dagenham, Medway, Waltham Forest, Westminster and Greenwich.

We hosted a mini discovery for the GLA’s latest iteration of the London Datastore where boroughs were invited to share what they currently use the DataStore for, and what impact it has had. They were then asked to give feedback on the nature and extent of data sharing between boroughs, with the intention of capturing user stories, pain points and requirements. The insights gathered in this session will be used in the development of the platform – more on this to come.

The meeting concluded with a discussion around boroughs’ approaches to improving data literacy. LOTI is developing a programme of work around this, and you can find out further details on what is included here. Pye Nyunt (Head of Insight & Innovation, Barking and Dagenham) led the discussion by sharing how they were using their Residents’ matrix and Social Progress Index in members’ briefings to showcase how data could support their efforts to target policy interventions and deliver more effective outcomes for residents. Other boroughs shared how they were phrasing questions to Senior Leaders in an attempt to get them to better understand how to draw insights from the data being presented to them, while others were focusing on improving data at the point of entry instead.

There’s a lot of work to be done on this, and we recognise that we might not be the best suited to tackle this on our own so would welcome the expertise of other organisations that may be further ahead in their journey and can share what they’ve learned.

Innovation in Procurement

LOTI hosted a Show & Tell where Matthew Cain (Head of Digital & Data, Hackney) shared details about their API platform development project and lessons that other LOTI boroughs can learn from the process. The full recording is now available to watch here.

The slides are also available to access here.

Coming up this week

  1. We’ll be trialling a fairer and more inclusive process for the recruitment of two new roles in the LOTI team – more details to be shared soon!
  2. We’re working on some new guidance to help boroughs better understand when and how to use smart city technologies.
  3. Applications for the LOTI & ONS Data Science Skills Development Programme opens today!

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Eddie Copeland
1 June 2021 ·
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