The London Borough of Camden has published its first digital strategy and is calling on anyone with feedback on the document to share their ideas around how it can use technology to improve its future services for residents.
As well as focusing on achieving value for money through the implementation of digital services and transactions, the strategy also looks at how it can improve the lives of residents with technology to drive down inequality and better communities.
Councillor Theo Blackwell, Camden’s cabinet member for finance, introduces the document by stating data analytics can help drive costs out of public services and that there is an opportunity to take advantage of growing technology trends, such as the increased use of mobile.
“The internet is the core of success in Britain and across the globe, disrupting traditional ways of doing things and powering new enterprises. It is impacting public services too by driving improvements in efficiency and productivity,” said Blackwell.
“Camden wants to realise how digital technology and big data can be a way to save money and improve services through co-production, collaboration and challenge by residents and businesses. By the end of the decade users of public services will expect to access what they want 24/7, by a variety of digital means – phone, TV, computer, console.”
He added: “Public sector workforces will need to up-skill radically to meet these higher expectations from taxpayers and service users, as well as developing bold new solutions to social problems. There are now opportunities for councils to be the first to redesign public services around the consumer experience, enabled by personal mobile technology and open source thinking.”
Camden laid out its main priorities for digital in the borough between now and 2017, which include:
• Develop new solutions with partners to reduce inequality – it will do this by using technology to integrate services across functional and geographical boundaries so they are more efficient through sharing of resources and potentially able to act sooner to help families with complex needs as a result of better information sharing between agencies
• Create the conditions for and harness the benefits of economic growth – it will foster digital skills through coding and other learning initiatives in schools, stimulate an expansion of high speed internet access across the Borough and develop the online Business Account to provide a single and efficient point of access to council services to help local businesses
• Invest in Camden’s communities to ensure sustainable neighbourhoods – it will do this by improving access to digital technology in areas where it is most needed and freeing up its volunteers, businesses and community facilities to nurture digital skills so that vulnerable residents are not left behind
• Provide democratic and strategic leadership – this will be achieved through greater transparency, enabled by making Council information available online, as well as using business intelligence tools to put resources where they are most needed. Camden will also maximise digital channels, including social media, to “revitalise democracy” and engage hard to reach groups.
• Enable the delivery of value for money services by “getting it right the first time” – this will be done through the use of efficient online services and transforming the Council’s workforce so that it is digital and mobile by default. Camden also hopes to take advantage of the internet of things to redesign smarter public services around citizens and businesses.
The document can be read in full here and anyone wanting to provide feedback to the Council has until the 27th February to do so.