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London Office of Technology and Innovation launches in ‘willing and able’ local authorities

The LOTI coalition of local authorities kicks off to speed up the adoption of new technologies and approaches within local authorities

The London Office for Technology and Innovation (LOTI) has launched with boroughs across the capital pledging to collaborate on speeding up technology-led advances underpinning the delivery of local service provision.

As anticipated by Computer Weekly, the coalition of “willing and able” local authorities will be led by Eddie Copeland, director of government innovation at innovation foundation Nesta. Funded by the Greater London Authority alongside London Councils, which coordinates and hosts the initiative, LOTI launched on 10 June.

Some 15 boroughs of the capital’s 32 local authorities – including Hackney, Camden and Greenwich – currently form the core founding group starting the initiative. It is anticipated that more boroughs will join and that partnerships will be formed with other public services and universities, as well as tech firms.

“Making better use of technology and data is key to so many of the challenges London faces. To meet the needs and expectations of London’s fast-growing population, public services in the capital must be set up to thrive in the internet age and make the most of all the tools and methods at their disposal,” Copeland said.

“Through building shared capability among the boroughs, we will improve London’s capacity to experiment, collaborate and secure all sorts of important benefits for Londoners,” he added.

In addition to collaboration between boroughs, LOTI will be working with other stakeholders, including universities such as University College London and Imperial, as well as the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, London Fire Brigade, London & Partners, the Olympic Park and the London Legacy Development Corporation, and the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government.

LOTI will focus on six core areas, with initial projects spanning across four workstreams. On digital apprenticeships, it will seek to develop the digital skills base across London based on a model successfully developed by Hackney Council, where local residents are being recruited into digital-focused apprenticeships.

LOTI’s six core areas of work:

  1. Putting in place digital skills training for public sector leaders;
  2. Making it easier for boroughs to share evidence of works;
  3. Shaping the GovTech market through better sharing of procurement needs;
  4. Facilitating improved peer-to-peer sharing of tools, patterns and code;
  5. Expanding partnerships with GovTech, Tech4Good, universities and nonprofits;
  6. Supporting the adoption of the Local Gov Digital Declaration.

It will also develop the LocalGov Digital platform as a single online source outlining all council projects so the market can identify potential opportunities based on local authority needs. In addition, it will seek to further develop the London Data Store to improve transparency and collaboration with citizens and the private sector.

Additionally, LOTI will develop a framework for data sharing between the boroughs participating in the initiative, aimed at tackling social and public services challenges.

One of the biggest initiatives on the agenda of London’s chief data officer, Theo Blackwell, was to ensure that LOTI became a reality. Celebrating the launch, he said that the group will play a “crucial role in mobilising the capital’s tech sector”.

“Our work together takes the next step in city-wide collaboration by supporting the common building blocks – data-sharing, leadership, talent, creating and sharing digital services together – that London needs as we go through a period of rapid technological change,” Blackwell said.

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