What can you expect from LOTI in Year 3?

On 15 July 2021, the LOTI community celebrated its second anniversary. You can view some of the highlights from Year 2 in this video

In this article, I want to sketch out the key areas we’re working on in Year 3, together with specifics on 25 things we aim to accomplish by the end of our first quarter on 15 October. We track our progress using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), which you can view here.

Year 3 Themes and Areas of Focus

As outlined in our Year 3 strategy, LOTI is now directing its attention towards three themes and nine areas of focus, summarised below.

LOTI Year 3 Strategy

Let’s explore them each in more detail.

Developing Capabilities

The objective of this theme is to help boroughs put in place the core capabilities required to be truly digitally enabled organisations. Our work falls into four areas: Skills and Capability, Future Workplace, Innovation in Procurement and Cyber Security.

Skills & Capability

LOTI’s already done quite a bit in this area, such as supporting boroughs to recruit and train more than 100 digital apprentices, and setting up three peer networks to bring data professionals together. This year, our primary goal is to help boroughs access more data talent – both by training up their own staff and looking at better ways to recruit. 

By 15 October, we aim to: 

1 Publish the first version of our Digital, Data and Innovation Capability Model. This model, being developed by Omid Shiraji with the support of Bloomberg Associates, aims to help boroughs understand what good looks like and what capabilities and roles they need within the domains of digital, data and innovation.

2 – Complete and published reflections on the LOTI/ONS Data Science Bootcamp. 15 borough data scientists are currently taking part in intensive training being conducted with our partners at the Office for National Statistics. The lessons from this bootcamp will help inform what we do next to develop boroughs’ existing data talent.

3 – Complete our Data Capacity Discovery. We recently sent out a survey to invite data professionals working in LOTI boroughs to share their reflections on the positive and negative aspects of their roles, and how boroughs can better recruit for data skills. We’ll be holding a workshop on 8 September to review the findings and plan a pilot.

4 – Continue to convene the three LOTI Data networks, for Data Leaders, Data Managers and Data Scientists. These are important forums to share ideas, provide peer support and flag up common issues that LOTI can help address.

Future Workplace

A new area for LOTI, our key objective is to help boroughs make informed decisions about the future workplace and design better workplaces together.

By 15 October, we aim to: 

5 Complete interviews for our first report on borough approaches to effective hybrid and remote working. With LOTI’s new researcher due to join the team on 20 September, we plan to publish a report every six months for the next two years outlining how boroughs are adapting technology, office space, ways of working and policies to support post-lockdown work life. Where we spot great practice, we’ll share it. Where we find common issues, we’ll aim to address them together.

6 – Publish a guide to holding accessible meetings. The local gov community is now pretty good at holding effective online meetings. But thought always needs to be given to making them truly accessible, both for those with visual and hearing impairments, and also those who like to contribute to meetings in different ways. If anyone’s already seen a great guide for doing this, please let us know. Otherwise, we’ll create one!

Innovation in Procurement

Our goal here is to help boroughs get better value from their technology procurements and improve relationships with suppliers. To that end, we’ll be exploring areas where a  collaborative approach can make a real difference.

By 15 October, we aim to: 

7 – Identify a business/technology area and a coalition of boroughs to work on an experiment on collaborative procurement. Following our work on housing services, we’ll be exploring if collaborative procurement can drive more productive partnerships in key service areas.

8 – Identify a business/technology area and a coalition of boroughs to work on an experiment on code sharing. While our preference is for boroughs to fulfil their technology needs by accessing the best innovations the market has to offer, there may be some areas where they’d achieve better results by developing and sharing code and services together – see for example the MHCLG funded Drupal project. We’ll be exploring if there are areas of common interest to trial this sort of approach within the LOTI community. 

Cyber Security

With cyber attacks increasing across local government, our goal is to strengthen boroughs’ cyber security efforts through collaboration. Readers will appreciate that this is an area where we can’t be quite as transparent as we are across the rest of our portfolio. Boroughs and other professional organisations who wish to find out more about – or support – this area of work are invited to get in touch with the LOTI team.

By 15 October, we aim to: 

9 – Complete the research phase of a discovery project into one specific collaboration opportunity which we are exploring with the National Cyber Security Centre and the Information Security Group for London. 

Service Innovation

The purpose of this theme is to help boroughs use innovation methods to develop citizen-focused, next generation services. Our work in this area falls under three headings: Data Collaboration, New Service Models and Digital Inclusion. All will be directed towards enabling better prevention.

Data Collaboration

Our goal in this area of work is to use data legally, ethically and securely to deliver real-world outcomes for Londoners.

By 15 October, we aim to: 

10 – Publish research on borough approaches to Data Ethics. In the first instance, we’re documenting interesting approaches being piloted in Camden and Brent to see how they might inform the guidance we give across our membership. Camden is currently working with local residents to develop a citizen data charter. Meanwhile, Brent has established a data ethics board to review and provide advice on new data project ideas.

11 – Publish a LOTI guide to understanding data quality. We’ll be hosting discussions around this with our data networks in September.

12 – Launch a discovery into establishing a pan-London Data Ethics process. Complementing our work on borough approaches, we want to ensure that London has a truly effective means of vetting the ethics of projects that entail sharing data between multiple partners. In the first instance, we’re looking at the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation’s recent work with Greater Manchester for inspiration.

13 – Scope out a new data collaboration project. As well as putting in place core foundation stones to use data well, we’re always looking for our next data project. The topic of financial vulnerability looks like an important and promising area of enquiry.

Slide showing key elements of LOTI's approach to supporting data collaboration
New Service Models

In a previous life, I used to write quite a bit about the idea of developing new service models for local government. While there’s plenty of advice in the think tank literature, our aim is to help London boroughs conduct R&D to design and test new, technology-enabled ways of meeting residents’ needs.

By 15 October, we aim to: 

14 – Publish full results of LOTI’s Assistive Technology pilots from Hackney and Greenwich.

15 – Launch a LOTI Government Innovators Series – video interviews highlighting some of the most interesting approaches from around the world. 

16 – Commence a pilot in Camden to test how better data sharing with the Voluntary and Charity Sector can enable better outcomes for residents.

Digital Inclusion

As a result of the pandemic, virtually every aspect of life is now expected to be conducted online, from work to socialising, and from education to shopping. Those who are not online are more disadvantaged than ever. With new funding from the GLA, LOTI will be working for two years to help understand and address key factors that lead to digital exclusion. We’ll report our progress in this area on the Digital Inclusion Innovation Programme page.

By 15 October, we aim to: 

17 – Publish a final report on key trends and findings from our research into borough digital inclusion initiatives.

18 – Complete at least one device upcycling pilot with a London public sector organisation and identified pain points to resolve in Q2. We’ll additionally publish a guide on device upcycling. Our hypothesis is that more devices could be provided to digitally excluded Londoners if organisations better understood how to upcycle rather than dispose of their old laptops, tablets and smartphones.

19 – Launch the Dementia Carers programme. This project aims to equip community support groups with the right skills and knowledge to provide digitally inclusive services to people affected by dementia and their carers.

20 – Launch a discovery into digital inclusion in Temporary Accommodation – with a phase 1 focus on hostels. We’re currently looking for a partner to help conduct this discovery. See full details on Contracts Finder.

21 – Launch Phase 2 of the mapping digital exclusion project

22 – Publish polished versions of the Covid Innovation Fund toolkits. See the two projects here and here.

Smarter London

Our aim in this area is to help boroughs use smart city technologies and approaches to improve services and create a better, more inclusive city. We know that fulfilling the full potential of this area depends on collaboration. Without some coordination, there’s a risk that each borough implements a completely different approach, creating new data silos and preventing the creation of insights and services that can work across boundaries and benefit all Londoners. 

By 15 October, we aim to: 

Smart City Principles & Standards

23 – Publish a LOTI Guide to Designing Smart City projects. The guide aims to help boroughs use smart city tools and approaches to deliver real-world improvements for residents. It’s currently being circulated for feedback with boroughs and will be shared publicly soon.

24 – Convene LOTI boroughs working on smart cities for idea-sharing sessions. 

Digital Districts

25 – Design a sprint event, in collaboration with borough environment directors, to bring local government smart city and environment specialists together to focus on achieving net-zero targets. LOTI believes that digital, data and smart city approaches should not be a siloed area of activity, involving only technologists. Rather, they can and should be used as powerful enablers of delivering real-world outcomes that matter to Londoners. Few outcomes are more important today than tackling climate change and supporting London’s wider environmental goals.

For all the latest on LOTI’s work, be sure to follow us on Twitter.

Eddie Copeland
23 August 2021 ·
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