On Tuesday 17 September, we conducted our penultimate borough visit of the summer with a visit to see Paul Neville, Director of Digital and ICT at Waltham Forest.
Waltham Forest is currently in the midst of a radical redesign of its existing campus buildings and their usage, which has required Paul and his colleagues to think creatively about how technology can enable more flexible ways of working. One part of delivering this (and fulfilling a broader desire to enable collaboration across services) has been for the council to embark on one of the most ambitious cloud strategies of any local authority.
They are deeply ambitious when it comes to creating insights and value from data, particularly where it can support residents and their needs. We also learned about how Waltham Forest is seeking to adapt the roles it plays in its community, acting as a digital platform connecting its partners and residents, and changing relationships with citizens.
On Friday 20 September, we hosted a workshop with the main representatives from each of our members to update them on the progress of our current projects and select which ideas they’d like to pursue next.
All LOTI projects must have a least one lead borough, responsible for shaping the project’s design and driving delivery, supported by the LOTI central team. The leads of each of our summer projects gave an update on progress:
- Digital Apprenticeships: Rob Miller (Hackney) shared that Hackney was currently conducting user research with Digital Apprenticeship Leads and apprentices in member boroughs in order to inform the approach and content of a playbook. The intention of the playbook is to act as a guide to help other local authorities offer successful digital apprenticeships. He reiterated LOTI members’ collective aim to create 100 new digital apprenticeship places by September 2020.
2. Information Governance: Ed Garcez recounted the ten recommended actions detailed in our recent Information Governance Workshop Summary Report (see pages 10–11). LOTI members agreed they were willing to endorse these actions, which include adopting the Information Sharing Gateway and engaging with Information Governance Leads across boroughs to engage them earlier in data-sharing initiatives.
3. Seamless WiFi: Omid Sharaji (Camden) shared an update on boroughs’ progress in implementing three guest wifi networks: GovWifi, Govroam and Eduroam. Boroughs agreed that all would have these in operation by the time of our next workshop in November.
Deciding on our next wave of projects
After a short break, we turned our attention to the long list of ideas submitted to LOTI’s Project Ideas Bank.
We’d like to reiterate our thanks to everyone who contributed a project idea. The list will provide a helpful backlog that we can return to for project ideas over the course of the year.
In order to create a shortlist of projects to take forward in the immediate term, each member was asked to vote for the ten they felt were strongest. We then discussed the most popular ideas as a group, with consideration given to each idea’s merits, potential mode of delivery, feasibility and likely timescale.
LOTI members then voted on up to three shortlisted ideas they’d actively like to be involved in — either by leading or supporting — between now and March 2020. The aim of this exercise was to identify which projects met our minimum criteria of having at least one borough willing to lead, and at least three others willing to support.
Future LOTI Projects
By the end of the workshop, we agreed to take forward the following projects:
- Evaluating the effectiveness of Assistive Technology products. All LOTI boroughs are looking to transform Adult Social Care Services and many are exploring how Assistive Technology (AT) — devices to help people live independently, healthily and confidently — can support this. However, there’s currently no consistent framework to evaluate their efficacy. Starting with a discovery workshop, this project aims to create a common evaluation framework for AT, enabling each borough to test a different technology and then share the evidence of its impact in a consistent and comparable standard. This should help avoid needless duplication and accelerate the roll-out of the best ATs. This project will be led by Newham, Hackney and Camden.
- Developing common standards for Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. London boroughs are making greater use of IoT devices to facilitate their work and better support citizens, from damp sensors in social housing to those collecting data on the use and condition of local roads. In this project, LOTI boroughs will collaborate to identify the 10 most common London IoT use cases and conduct pilots to support the development of common standards. The project will be led by Westminster, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), Kingston and Sutton.
- Engaging in discovery phase of London City DataStore. The Open Data Institute (ODI) has recently been appointed by the GLA to run a discovery phase to establish the future needs and users of the London City DataStore. LOTI member boroughs have considerable interest in the sharing of open and closed datasets, especially the use of real-time data, and will be actively engaging with this project to ensure LOTI’s views, ideas and interests are represented. This project will be led by Waltham Forest and Greenwich.
- Exploring next steps for City Tools. In November this year, LOTI will be launching City Tools, a database listing all the different technologies used by each borough to conduct their services and internal operations. The data includes details of suppliers, contract end dates and satisfaction ratings. Our hope is that it will help boroughs have more productive conversations with technology providers, identify opportunities for joint procurements and give businesses greater visibility about when tenders are likely to arise. It may also help inform how London boroughs can tackle some problematic supplier behaviours, for example where vendors charge boroughs £1000s to access their own data. This project will be led by Camden and Waltham Forest.
- Reviewing boroughs’ approaches to the ethical use of data and AI. LOTI boroughs will come together to explore how they are approaching the ethics and governance of data and artificial intelligence. This project will be led by Brent.
- Engaging with schools to raise young Londoners’ aspirations in technology. As part of LOTI’s commitment to developing London’s digital skills talent pool, LOTI will explore how LOTI members can better support local schools to raise pupils’ awareness about career opportunities in technology. The project will start by exploring current initiatives that promote technology careers to schools to see how LOTI boroughs can best complement or add to existing provision. This project will be led by Croydon.
This week we will be:
- Kicking off planning for the delivery of each of our new projects.
- Continuing the delivery of our summer projects, including interviewing current digital apprentices, speaking at the next meeting of the London Apprenticeships Subgroup, and planning for an Information Governance workshop to be held on 28 October.
- Holding our first LOTI social for teams from our member boroughs!
Thanks for reading!