Weeknote 6 of 2021

Successful bids for the Covid Innovation Fund

In our last weeknote, we shared the final submissions for LOTI’s Covid Innovation Fund. Firstly, our huge thanks go to all the borough officers who invested the time and effort to apply, and to our members for providing feedback on such strong ideas.

After much consideration, we are pleased to announce the two successful bids, which are:

  1. Tackling digital exclusion by developing a rich data picture through an innovative interactive demographic map of user needs.
    This project was put forward by Barnet, Brent, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark and Westminster, and has interest from Kingston and Sutton to support using existing tools. As well as being a strong idea in itself, we felt that this project would be a vital precursor to many other digital inclusion initiatives, and would be ideal preparation for starting work on the Digital Access for All Mission in May. The project seeks to build on work by the participating boroughs to create and validate much richer data models that aim to understand the distribution and extent of different forms of digital inclusion.
  2. Developing new approaches to preventative support for vulnerable residents in partnership with voluntary sector organisations.
    This project was put forward by Newham and Hackney. The project aims to design and put in place more preventative measures to help ensure residents whose vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by the pandemic avoid reaching crisis point. It will explore how councils can work in more joined-up ways with their local voluntary and charity sectors to proactively identify needs and intervene early, including in key risk areas such as problem debt once forbearance periods ends; mental health of those isolated and/or shielding and children and young people; preventing eviction, debt management and employability, Early Years and family support, immigration support and advice and those bereaved by Covid. We think the lessons from this project will be an excellent complement to Camden and Central Bedfordshire’s MHCLG-funded work on data exchange with the VCS, and touches on the new ways of working boroughs have stated they want to pursue as a result of dealing with the pandemic.

The full press release will be available online, by the end of the day.

Digital, Data and Innovation Reference Model

Avid readers of LOTI’s weeknotes may remember that last year, LOTI and Bloomberg kicked off a collaboration to support London boroughs to better understand the capabilities they need to develop in the fields of digital, data and innovation.

LOTI’s vision is to see a future where London’s public sector organisations can thrive in the digital era, achieving their best for their residents. The Covid experience has highlighted that organisations need to be ready and able to adapt at great speed to unpredictable events and crises. Council leaders have seen first hand the pivotal role that digital and data play in making that possible. It’s also placed new urgency on the need to find more effective and financially sustainable ways of working. To not just survive but thrive in this environment and meet the expectations of their residents, boroughs need to be able to innovate – both individually and collectively – and make the smartest use of all the best tools and methods at their disposal.

At the last LOTI Show & Tell, Omid Shiraji (Interim Chief Information Officer, One Source – Newham and Havering) shared the initial prototype of the LOTI Digital, Data and Innovation reference model. You can watch the full demo here.

Supporting London’s Cyber Resilience

Cyber security is a major priority for London boroughs. As well as holding recent workshops with CIOs to discuss how we can support them with ensuring their traditional line of business systems are secure, many boroughs have plans to invest in smart city technologies in public spaces where additional security issues arise. Boroughs are aware that organisations like the National Cyber Security Centre and British Standards Institution have guidance, but not all of it is expressed in a way that’s accessible to practitioners making decisions on what to procure in boroughs.

With that in mind, and following our IoT Sprint Week last year, LOTI has commissioned research by Meha Shukla, a Researcher specialising in the physical & cyber security of smart streets at University College London, to help design a smart city cyber resilience plan for boroughs. Our desired outcome is to reduce and manage London boroughs’ operational risks and liabilities of cyber resilience issues during the procurement of smart city technologies. 

Through this work, we sought to translate high level, available guidance into practical steps that boroughs can take to procure smart city services that are cyber-resilient. We also want to integrate that guidance into the key steps set out in our Innovation in Procurement toolkit.

LOTI Cyber Resilience for Smart Cities and IoT Procurement - DRAFT

We would welcome your views on the initial plan, which you can access here. We will also be holding a Show & Tell on this plan, this Friday with Meha Shukla (Researcher, UCL). If you’d like to attend, please register online.

Coming up this week

This week, we’ll be:

  1. Engaging with private sector partners to further inform the development of the Digital, Data and Innovation reference model.
  2. Planning the next steps for the successful Covid Innovation Fund projects.
  3. Developing a strategy for our Digital Inclusion project.

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Eddie Copeland
15 February 2021 ·
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