LOTI: Weeknote 27

Onyeka Onyekwelu
Feb 3, 2020 · 4 min read

Meeting our Members

We meet with our members every eight weeks, and with it being our first meeting in 2020, it was particularly important for us to meet and discuss:

  1. Ideas for pan-London data-sharing

LOTI has developed a number of projects that aim to get rid of the current barriers that exist to pan-London data collaboration.

We rounded up our project on Information Governance by creating a 7-step process that seeks to standardise and streamline boroughs’ approach to assessing the viability of data projects in light of legal, ethical and security considerations. We were also involved in the discovery phase of the London Datastore project, looking at the role it plays in helping boroughs wishing to exchange and analyse data.

This year, we intend to understand boroughs’ approach to new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Our project will seek to inform boroughs’ approach to the use of IoT in smart street infrastructure where specific opportunities and challenges arise. Key areas that need to be addressed include the impact of data ethics guidance and resources in practice.

All of that is great in theory, but we now wish to test the results of each of these projects by working on collaboration initiatives aimed at improving services and outcomes for Londoners. In effect, living out LOTI’s mission.

Working on the assumption that the London Datastore will be used as our default technical platform for data collaboration, we asked the boroughs to select future data projects based on the following criteria:

  1. Does it achieve a meaningful, real-world outcome?
  2. Does it demonstrate clear added value for boroughs through data collaboration?
  3. Is it able to share live / near-live data?
  4. Will it involve the assessment of personal data?
  5. Does it (or the first phase of it) deliver results in a relatively short period of time?

We spent some time considering ideas, which included thinking about how we might support borough officers who make decisions on what transport services they provide to residents with Special Educational Needs (SEN). At the other end of the spectrum, we also considered how we might provide boroughs with a better view of the location and usage of charging points for electric vehicles.

The LOTI group selected a number of ideas to go forward for a discovery phase, which we’ll write about in more detail in next week’s post.

2. Improving technology procurement in boroughs

We reminded the boroughs about the two user design workshops we will be holding this week. The first will be led by the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Economic Development Team and Nitrous, and the second will be led by us, seeking to engage with finance, procurement, IT and specific service area leads from London boroughs. Our intention is to map out the user journeys of both user groups in order to better understand what data and functionality they need.

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3. Exploring new ways of working

Eddie’s last blog concluded with the recognition that the ‘Keep, Fix, Enhance and Swap’ options currently available to local governments wishing to innovate, are no longer sufficient. Our hypothesis is that our lack of a firm understanding of, and evidence base for the “Replace” option, hampers our ability to fully innovate.

With that in mind, we asked our boroughs for their views on developing a digital capability map for LOTI. This could inform how we plan for a possible transition from boroughs’ current ways of working to alternative operating models.

Our boroughs challenged this assumption using our Outcomes-Based Methodology and prompted us to review our approach and revisit this idea in greater depth at a subsequent meeting.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Government

Earlier in the week, Genta Hajri (LOTI’s Programme Manager) and Onyeka Onyekwelu (LOTI’s Lead Engagement Officer) attended the Government Digital Service (GDS) Academy’s ‘Introduction to Artificial Intelligence in Government’ training. This was an excellent opportunity for LOTI to find out how other government departments are using AI, what is being considered before adopting or using AI, and also developing the team’s core understanding of this area prior to our own AI and Data Ethics workshop series, which starts on 14 February with a workshop at Brent.

Our intention through LOTI is to help raise awareness within boroughs about what useful resources on data and AI ethics already exist, and explore how they can embed them into their processes, governance and public engagement activities.

Digital Leadership

We are on a journey to help officers in our boroughs develop their understanding and skills to make the most of digital. So far, that has focused on improving equal access into the sector through our Digital Apprenticeships scheme. Last week, we spent time with colleagues from Greenwich and Hackney, thinking about innovative ways that we could support current digital officers to make the most of their roles, and progress in their careers.

This Week

Coming up this week, we’ll be:

  1. holding two user design workshops to inform the development of City Tools. If you are a borough officer and would like to attend, please register here.
  2. updating the Smart London Board on LOTI’s work on responsible data collaboration.
  3. testing our approach to constructively reshaping boroughs’ procurement relationships with technology suppliers following our collaborative exercise in week 26.

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London Office of Technology & Innovation

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