Weeknote 31 of 2021

While the end of the summer holiday season may have meant fewer meetings and workshops, LOTI was busy last week finalising some project deliverables, launching research activities and presenting our work to other bodies.

Digital Inclusion

We were pleased to publish a pack of 24 digitally excluded personas, one of several deliverables to come out of our Mapping Digital Exclusion with Data project.  The work builds on initial persona research carried out at Westminster and then tested and validated across Barnet, Brent, Kensington and Chelsea and Southwark. The personas are designed to provide deeper insight into the user needs of the key digitally excluded groups that can be identified using LOTI’s digital exclusion map. The full methodology for developing the personas can be found in the Mapping Digital Exclusion toolkit.

Image of one of 24 digitally excluded persons developed by LOTI

On this same theme, LOTI’s Jay Saggar presented findings from this project to the London Health Equity Delivery Group. Jay and the group discussed ways in which health professionals and councils might collaborate to tackle digital exclusion. The group welcomed the project’s progress and a number of further conversations will be arranged to explore the possibility of working together.

Using the London DataStore for Data Collaboration Projects

A second deliverable published last week outlines how to use the London DataStore for Data Collaboration Projects. Regular readers of LOTI’s weeknotes will recall that using the DataStore for secure, private data sharing is one of six measures we have advocated for all boroughs to adopt to make data sharing easier across the capital. 

London Datastore process flow diagram

Data Ethics Research

One of LOTI’s goals for our third year is to help boroughs further their work to put data ethics principles into practice. One step to achieving this is to document and assess some innovative data ethics approaches being trialled by two LOTI boroughs: Camden and Brent. To that end, LOTI has hired researchers to explore those boroughs’ models so we can determine if they offer useful lessons for other councils.

Camden Council is currently developing a Data Charter to provide council officers with a policy framework and set of principles to guide their approach to how they use the data they hold, both now and in the future. They have chosen to take a deliberative approach and consult with local residents about the challenges and opportunities surrounding the use of data. In a set of interviews and other engagement activities, supported by LOTI, local residents have been presented with different scenarios in which the council could use their data. The aim is to determine how residents feel about the use of data, identify under what circumstances and conditions they are supportive of its use, and where they have misconceptions or concerns. The Charter will be created by a Resident Panel of 20-30 residents over the coming weeks. The Data Charter is thought to be the first such document to be produced by any local authority.

Brent Council has established a Data Ethics Committee to review and assess the ethics of the council’s new data initiatives. The Committee uses the Open Data Institute’s Data Ethics Canvas to help frame debate about whether a given data project should go ahead and what mitigating measures might need to be put in place. A core aim of this new structure is to ensure that data ethics principles do not just sit in a document, but are acted on as a core part of the borough’s internal data governance. 

In addition to exploring these two models, LOTI will be seeking to identify and develop other interesting approaches to practical data ethics with its members. On which note, LOTI’s network of Data Leaders will be discussing the topic of how data quality impacts data ethics at a session next week.

Data Skills Capacity

Last week, we received final responses to a survey shared with LOTI’s three networks of data professionals. The survey asked them about what they most and least like about working in local government, what recruitment challenges they have experienced or witnessed, and what ideas they have for increasing boroughs’ access to data talent.

This week, LOTI is working with a freelance recruitment consultant to analyse the results in advance of a data skills capacity workshop we’ll be holding on 8 September. At that workshop, we’ll explore the findings together with our community and aim to select a small number of initiatives we can trial before the end of the year to address the data skills capacity gap.

Coming up

Coming up this week, we’ll be:

  1. Making final preparations to launch our digital inclusion projects on temporary accommodation and supporting the carers of people living with dementia.
  2. Analysing and publishing a report on the responses to our data skills capacity survey.
  3. Making final preparations to welcome two new LOTI team members. We look forward to introducing them to you shortly!

For all the latest on LOTI’s activities, follow us on Twitter.

Eddie Copeland
31 August 2021 ·
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