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The importance of digital boards

TechUK recommends identifying critical friends within the locality who could be candidates for the digital board

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To deliver smart services and initiatives, local authorities need input from a digital board
To deliver smart services and initiatives, local authorities need input from a digital board

A new report from techUK’s smart infrastructure programme, SmarterUK, sets out what makes a good ‘digital board’ to support a city and community’s smart initiatives.

 

The organisation, which represents the UK tech community, says 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, What makes a ‘good’ Digital Board, was launched at techUK’s Local Gov Transformation: Creating Smart Places event.

 

A mix of representatives is required

 

TechUK says a digital board, made up of representatives from a mix of local actors such as academia, local businesses, consumer or citizen groups and tech companies, can raise awareness of opportunities for digital evolution, improved decision-making capacity and implementation capability.

 

“Local authorities stand on the frontline of the implementation of smart initiatives,” said Julian David, CEO, techUK. “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.

 

He added: “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.”

"Local authorities should not be tasked with delivering the nation’s smart cities and communities agendas alone"

The report provides a number of core recommendations, falling under the themes of establishing and maintaining a digital board for local authorities to consider. The local authority should first undertake a mapping exercise to identify eight to 12 ‘critical friends’ within the locality who could be candidates for the digital board.

 

Once established, 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.

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