<p> </p><p>Camden Council’s cabinet member for Finance, Technology and Growth, Theo Blackwell, has encouraged local government to set its sights higher for digital transformation.</p><p>His points, made in an extensive <a href="https://medium.com/@camdentheo/digital-transformation-technology-and-local-public-services-camden-and-beyond-c3b0c347a5ca#.m4zyrox0j">blog post</a>, reflect similar views to other deep thinkers about local government.</p><p>Blackwell says local government transformation “cannot be a narrowly focused strategy about moving government services online. It’s about enabling the transformation of government, business and society for the better. This is how we have approached digital in the borough and our ambitions are set out in our Digital Strategy and our ongoing work.”</p><p>He suggested that local government must be recognised as integral to the delivery of cross government transformation, economic growth and making everyday lives easier. Local and regional government, he said, must invest in digital leadership at an officer and councillor level so that local government is empowered to:</p><ul><li>See digital transformation, open data and common standards as a necessary part of devolution deals and long-term government efficiency deals;</li><li>Develop local digital plans to integrate local and regional digital developments across the locality to accelerate progress, synergise investment and spur future innovation;</li><li>Lead the development of an interoperability framework that enables data sharing and end to end process automation across local and central government;</li><li>Play a full and participatory role in the development and rollout of Government-as-a-Platform.</li></ul><p>In his blog, Blackwell pointed out that Camden’s digital strategy, originally written by John Jackson, the borough’s former CIO who is now chief executive of the London Grid for Learning (LGfL) is now two years old. To refresh its approach, said Blackwell, Camden’s officers have mapped interdependencies to draw together a suggested scope for a new approach embedded in the next corporate plan for the borough.</p><p>Some clear themes have emerged, he suggested, in discussing digital transformation in the context of the new Camden Plan 2017+. They include:</p><ul><li>Digital Foundations: what are the basics that we need to get right internally to facilitate transformation?</li><li>Digital Aspirations: how can a set of digital principles further our goals and ambitions for Camden?</li></ul><p>Discussing London-wide and England-wide principles, Blackwell said, “The new chief digital officer for London pledged by Mayor Sadiq Khan presents a major opportunity for boroughs to learn from one another and become greater than the sum of our parts. Camden hosts the Local Digital Coalition to improve sharing of innovation between authorities and the development of common standards.</p><p>“In the future a new open data and standards culture of public services should enable better budgeting and intervention as described above, as well as propel innovation.</p><p>“We also believe there is an important coordinating role between central and local government, whether through GDS or other leadership set out in the proposed UK Digital Strategy, with several clear actions all local councils should sign up to.</p><p>“The question of what real local government leaders should be doing is a big one which will be explored in other posts in more detail. Certainly releasing more information and government-provided data APIs is fundamental. But it is also the adoption of cloud computing, wikis, crowdsourcing, mobile applications, mashups, sponsoring developer contests and so on.”</p><p>Looking further into the future, Blackwell said there is no reason why with the right leadership, local government shouldn’t be “at the cusp” of adopting the latest technology.</p><p>“PWC highlight 8 technologies businesses will use in the future. It is unclear the immediate application of Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality will be but we can see how Internet of Things (IoT) is developing in public services as well as Artificial Intelligence/machine learning for where there is a high volume of data.”</p><p>He went on, “Camden is piloting IoT technologies, starting with parking sensors, street lighting and waste management to provide data to improve services and help us target resources more effectively. Building on these pilots we are looking at how technology in our buildings and fabric can then be joined up to help inform more complex social care issues.</p><p>“Intelligent (or robotic) process automation for high scale transactional services (HR/finance, customer services) and further context brokering will be another area to explore. We will see further utilisation of technology that pulls together data from an ever-wider set of sources and provides contextual outputs for us. Sources such as mobile phones (use of location data); communication networks (greater capacity and utilisation); sensors (temperature, pressure, device on or off); personal analytic devices (monitoring the condition of a person); our own application systems (council tax systems, records of recent transactions); finally, publicly available datasets such as open data and commerce sites (retail statistics).</p><p>“This will give us a repeatable and systematic approach using public and private data sources for the discovery, preparation, analysis and delivery of insights in the form of derived context data. Again, the benefit to residents and taxpayers is well-being and the prevention of acute (and costly) demand arising.</p><p>“Finally, we will see much more advanced use of personal analytics –this is the use of data by our residents/citizens to help achieve objectives across a range of domains, including personal healthcare (fitness); safety; financial management; employment; social connection (spending time with others) and self-esteem (personal development). The authority’s role here will be to enable the use of this data, through our tech (think apps for mobile/TVs etc.) for our citizens and residents to use."</p>But he warned, “Realising the benefits of agglomeration here may mean some challenging public policy questions around privacy and data sharing?—?and even changes to legislation."