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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a search to find the city’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), who will oversee the digital transformation of public services across London and act as an advocate for the capital’s burgeoning technology sector.
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The appointment will fulfil one of Khan’s key manifesto pledges in the 2016 London mayoral elections, but has taken a whole year – or a quarter of Khan’s term as mayor – to come to fruition.
Last summer, a report produced by business advocacy group London First and Bloomberg said that how digital transformation could help London address the challenges it now faces would be a key issue during Khan’s mayoralty.
The report said such a position could bring numerous initiatives and activities together, breaking down barriers and “convening partnerships” across the private and public sectors. However, although it broadly supported Khan’s pledge, it also cautioned that a CDO for London would need to be given sufficient influence and authority to work with multiple stakeholders.
“London is a world-leading hub for digital technology, data science and urban innovation,” said Khan. “These technologies have the potential to transform the way that Londoners and visitors experience our city.
“I want to take the digital transformation of our public services to the next level, so we can improve the ways in which we plan and deliver public services for Londoners.”
The new CDO will work across the mayor’s office, the Smart London Board, the city’s 30-plus local authorities and the IT industry. His or her aim will be to foster collaboration and the adoption of common standards on data and service transformation, to implement Khan’s digital inclusion and security policies, to drive the smart city agenda, and to establish London as a world leader in urban technology.
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The CDO will also be tasked with developing and delivering a new Smart London Strategy, and shape the Greater London Authority’s policy and action plan in response to new disruptive or transformational technology.
Statistics produced by City Hall suggest there are now more than 40,000 digital technology companies working in London, employing about 250,000 people, and over one-third of the firms have been set up since 2012.
“I am delighted to begin my search for a chief digital officer, so we can make London an even smarter smart city and use our incredible technological abilities to the best effect,” said Khan.