LOTI: Weeknote 20

Onyeka Onyekwelu
Dec 2, 2019 · 6 min read

City Tools

Last week, we published the raw data behind City Tools on the London Datastore and Paul Hodgson (Senior Manager of City Data for the Greater London Authority, GLA) helpfully created an API to make the data easy to access and reuse.

We then spent Monday morning planning our two City Tools workshops with Omid Shiraji (Interim Chief Information Officer for Camden) and Paul Neville (Director of Digital and ICT for Waltham Forest):

The first workshop will focus on the seven boroughs whose Northgate housing contracts expire in the first quarter of 2020. We have invited Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Housing Directors in these boroughs to explore the potential to work together to improve the contract renewal process.

Our second workshop, that same afternoon, will focus on identifying how we can develop City Tools to deliver real improvements to boroughs’ use and procurement of technology. We will be looking at this through a short and long term lens. We invited CIOs, Chief Finance Officers, Procurement Leads and Service Managers and Directors in LOTI member boroughs. In response to TechUK’s call for “early market engagement”, we extended an invitation to TechUK to represent the interests of the private sector. In addition, we have invited Nitrous and the GLA’s Economic Development Team, who are in the process of developing an online platform that will help to demystify the processes and improve communication around London’s public sector procurement frameworks.

Both workshops are scheduled for this Tuesday 3 December.

All-Member Workshop

We held our last All-Member workshop in 2019. A full summary of the points discussed can be found here.

Last LOTI All-Member workshop in 2019
Last LOTI All-Member workshop in 2019

Some of the key points and subsequent actions that came out of the workshop are:

  1. Some boroughs have faced challenges in the course of implementing the new wifi networks. As a result, members agreed that the LOTI Central Team would provide additional support by way of on-site assistance from London Grid for Learning (who provide the licenses for Govroam and Eduroam), online support from Fabio Negro (Head of Modern Infrastructure for Camden), and an agreement to extend the deadline for implementation to the end of the year. Progress is being recorded on this dashboard, and in the meantime, LOTI Central Team will be capturing lessons learned to share with non-LOTI members. Implementing these wifi networks will play a key part in building London’s resilience network.
  2. Following the creation of our Digital Apprenticeship Playbook with Cate McLaurin (Head of Delivery for Hackney), we have since shared the draft with Tower Hamlets and the GLA to trial and provide feedback. We would welcome wider adoption of the guide by non-LOTI member boroughs, and will share our Handbook via Pipeline and the Local Government Digital Slack channel this week.
  3. The LOTI central team have been working on drafting a Statement of Intent on Responsible Data Sharing to act as the foundation upon which LOTI develops its roadmap of data-related work. Members engaged in a debate about the tone of the messaging, the intent behind its creation, and put forward some useful suggestions on amendments that could be made to move it closer to adoption by the boroughs. Based on the workshop discussion, the LOTI Central Team agreed to recirculate the document, integrating boroughs’ suggestions for review and feedback.

Advisory Panel Meeting

That same afternoon, we held our inaugural Advisory Panel meeting. Much of the discussion centred around our work on data and a full summary of the points discussed can be found here.

What we are doing with Data

In our first few months of operation, it has become apparent (and as Eddie set out in a recent article) that we need to lay down the groundwork for London’s future success with data. One fundamental piece of work that LOTI could do in the first instance is to create and adopt a standardised set of principles to enable better data sharing and collaboration across LOTI member boroughs.

Our initial thinking was that this would form part of our Information Governance work. It has since come to light that this would sit most naturally as a foundation piece across all LOTI projects including, for instance, our work supporting the GLA’s London Datastore discovery, Internet of Things and Assistive Technology projects.

Principles in Practice

The LOTI Central Team has created an explainer document, mapping out our thinking behind the principles in our draft Statement of Intent on Responsible Data Sharing. We tested these principles with our members and our Advisory Panel last week. The general view from both forums was that these principles were too expert-focused, and needed to be fleshed out to demonstrate what real-world outcomes could be realised if they were implemented. Members of the Advisory Panel challenged our thinking on who would need to sign up to it but agreed that there is a need for senior buy-in to ensure its reach and commitment beyond digital and IT teams. It’s really important that we get this right, so the LOTI Central Team will be amending it this week to incorporate the views shared, and would very much welcome your views to help and shape our thinking.

Information Governance

One of the key actions from our last Information Governance workshop was to expand our 5-steps to an iterative 7-Step Information Governance Process. In the course of developing this, we uncovered that one of the key barriers to collaboration between teams occurs at the ‘Co-Create DPIA’ (Data Protection Impact Assessment) stage. Some of the challenges that were shared with us during our workshops included frustrations with version control and the lack of a common template or process. One potential solution is the development of a digital Data Privacy Impact Assessment Tool by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), which was brought to our attention following a meeting with CC2i.

This tool will assess if there is a need for a DPIA to be completed, provide a standardised approach to the data captured, and has the ability to allocate tasks to various users within the tool to ensure timely completion and sign off of a DPIA. LOTI members agreed that we should engage with its development, which has the potential to guide and simplify the IG process. This could go some way in equipping officers across various service departments with the tools they need to assume responsibility for their own DPIA needs and rebalance some of the tensions that exist with the creation of DPIAs.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The LOTI central team met with the Chair of London Councils’ London Environment Directors’ Network (LEDNet), and subsequently with Nathan Pierce (Programme Director of Sharing Cities) to discuss the approach we take on IoT. More details on our approach will be shared soon.

Outside London

LOTI is keen to learn from other cities. One organisation that we’ve been advised to speak to several times is the Scottish Local Government’s Digital Office.

We ended our week in a Google Hangout with Martyn Wallace, their Chief Digital Officer to find out more about their programme of work. He shared the work they were doing to develop digital skills and leadership through their Train-the-trainer model on a Digital Essentials course. He also shared some learnings following the growth of the central team from 2 core members of staff to a team of 17 people of different specialisms. Martyn tried not to sugar-coat how difficult it has been to communicate their aspirations and progress on projects. He shared their ‘Shape, Share, Shift and Scale’ mantra, which he felt had been more successful and definitely more accessible by non-Digital-natives in local government.

In light of the work Martyn and his team are doing on standardising Digital Telecare and procurement, we will remain in contact with him and are sure to touch base on his turf in the new year.

Coming up this week

This week we’ll be:

  1. Supporting Omid and Paul to hold our two City Tools: London use cases workshops.
  2. Meeting with Paul Hodgson, Paul Neville and Trevor Dorling to discuss possible data-sharing/analytics initiatives for London.
  3. Finalising the draft of our Assistive Technology framework.

You can follow LOTI’s up-to-date progress on Twitter.


London Office of Technology & Innovation

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