Digital Board could help Local Authorities deliver smart initiatives

Digital Board could help Local Authorities deliver Smart initiativesLocal authorities, which are on the front line of implementation when it comes to smart, place-based digital initiatives could be helped to deliver positive, sustainable citizen outcomes for their locality with the formation of a Digital Board – a new report claims. Launched at techUK’s Local Gov Transformation: Creating smart places event, What makes a ‘good’ Digital Board? draws upon the expertise of techUK industry members and public sector stakeholders to guide local authorities through building a stronger understanding of digital, data and technological solutions into decision-making levels by establishing and maintaining a good Digital Board. This would be made up of representatives from a mix of local players such as academia, local businesses, consumer or citizen groups and tech companies, to raise awareness of opportunities for digital evolution, improved decision-making capacity and implementation capability.  To reap the benefits that smart places can provide, decision-makers and implementers would benefit from looking to the locality for informed champions of digital, data and technological solutions to lay the foundations for smarter cities, villages, and towns around the UK.

The report provides seven core recommendations, falling under the themes of “establishing a Digital Board” and “maintaining a Digital Board” for local authorities to consider:

  • The local authority should undertake a mapping exercise to identify eight to 12 ‘critical friends’ within the locality who could be candidates for the Digital Board.
  • The Digital Board should:
    • Develop a vision for digital evolution.
    • Develop a Digital Delivery Plan with measurable objectives to which it is held accountable by the local authority’s executive leadership.
    • Incorporate regular and ongoing civic engagement as a digitally-enabled factor of the local authority’s digital ambitions that supports user-centric digital ambition and delivery of smart cities initiatives.
    • Oversee the secure and effective management of data and data-related capabilities within the local authority.
    • Position itself as a facilitator of collaboration, communication, knowledge sharing and coordination between local authorities and police, health, education, and third sector organisations operating within the local ecosystem.

Julian David, CEO, techUK said: “Local authorities stand on the frontline of the implementation of smart initiatives. We understand the pressures they face and appreciate that they should not be tasked with delivering the nation’s smart cities and communities agendas alone.

“By building internal capacity and capability to utilise the strengths of digital, which is not always as easy as it seems, we believe that local authorities will be able to commission and implement smarter, citizen-centric services for their localities. We look forward to working alongside our members and local authority stakeholders to support them in their digital evolution and deliver on smart initiatives for cities and communities across the UK.”

Dr Jonathan Adey, Senior Manager at Hitachi Europe Ltd. and Chair of the techUK Smart Cities & Communities Steering Board, said: “The term ‘digital transformation’ is often used for large scale IT projects or Smart City initiatives.

“Whilst these have a key role to play in driving better, more integrated services, across the broad remit of local authorities, often the biggest impacts will come from a strategic approach to deploying proven technologies to meet specific service needs and, where possible, using innovative ways to encourage local supply chains in this process.

“An empowered digital board which harnesses the skills across the authority, private and voluntary sectors is key to driving this change.”

Download the report here