In Year 1, LOTI’s work on skills focused on developing the digital skills pipeline in London local government by successfully recruiting 100 Digital Apprentices.
In Year 2, we are focusing on helping boroughs develop their data skills: building on the expertise of individuals working in data-specific roles and also increasing the general level of understanding and awareness about the role of data across all staff. Our focus on data reflects the financial and resource constraints in local government and the subsequent importance of upskilling existing staff and using data insights to drive better and more efficient decision making. Our desired outcome of doing this is to embed a culture where data forms an active part of the way London boroughs operate and deliver public services.
Below we outline LOTI’s activities to support Data Leaders, Data Teams and Local Government Officers working in non-data roles.
Using data effectively is core to public sector organisations’ ability to serve residents well. Those responsible for leading their organisation’s data strategy and development are experimenting with different tools, approaches and techniques to put data at the heart of service reform and decision making, but don’t always have the time to explore other options, learn from peers or identify opportunities to collaborate to realise wider benefits for Londoners.
Data Leaders Network
We have established a Data Leaders Network for Heads of Data and Business Intelligence (BI) teams working in London’s public sector. The network is a safe space to ask pressing questions and share strategies and resources with one another. Led by the Heads of Data and BI in Barnet and Camden, this group now meets once a month, providing a platform to share their approaches as well as foster a community of thought leadership and expertise in the sector.
LOTI’s Data Science and Data Managers networks have identified a need for peer networking and supplementary skills training to develop the data capabilities of officers working in borough data teams. Historically training in the field of local government data analytics has been limited, hindering opportunities for development.
Data Managers Network
In response to the Covid pandemic, LOTI started hosting regular meet-ups for Data Analysts and Managers from local authorities to give them the opportunity to share what tools and approaches they were using to support residents during the crisis and recovery. Videos from each of those sessions can be viewed here.
With the need to meet so frequently diminishing as the crisis recedes, LOTI continues to support this network by hosting a private network for members online. We will hold quarterly meetings where the topics discussed and the direction of travel will be led by boroughs.
Data Scientists Network and Skills Training
LOTI has created a separate space to support Data Scientists (and Analysts learning to code) from London boroughs. We host monthly meet-ups for this network to share approaches, build collaborative resources and get training on specific data science techniques. Please click here to register to attend future meet-ups.
LOTI is collaborating with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus to develop a training programme for this group. Boroughs are keen to understand more about how they can use data analytics to solve common problems and deliver world-class public services to Londoners. With the support of ONS Data Science Campus, we have co-developed a data matching and analytics skills programme with our network by identifying a common problem that boroughs are facing that could benefit from collaboration. We will work together with the borough officers to develop a solution that demonstrates the value of data science within London local government.
As the need for councils and their partners to collect and use data intelligently and strategically grows, it is becoming evident that data capabilities cannot be reserved solely as a distinct function of data teams. Rather, there is a need to embed a wider understanding of the value that data brings amongst all staff.
Data 101 Playbook
LOTI is supporting work by the London borough of Barnet to design a “Data 101 Playbook” and set of training materials and approaches for council staff. We hope this work will create a resource that can be tested, adopted and emulated across the whole LOTI community.