Theo Blackwell: London can be world’s data capital

By SA Mathieson, editor of Socitm In Our View magazine

London’s first city-wide chief digital officer has invited public-sector IT professionals to get involved in making it the “data capital of the world”.

Theo Blackwell, who moved to the Greater London Authority last autumn, has started a listening exercise to gather new ideas. “A component of it is to get the people on the ground, the experienced professionals delivering services, to give us their views on what measures we should take to enable London to become smarter, whether it’s about connectivity, collaboration or our approach to data,” he says.

“They are totally invaluable in shaping our vision, as they are the enablers,” Blackwell adds of the capital’s public sector IT staff. “We really want them to play a full role, whether through a CIO forum or contacting us with individual submissions, because it’s a real moment for the profession to express their ambitions here.”

He says that London’s approach to digital devolution, which could work in other city regions gaining powers over local public services, will include the capital’s 33 councils but also local NHS, transport, police and fire organisations.

The exercise, which will also include companies and other organisations working in technology, will feed into the production of a new Smart London plan, to be launched during London Tech Week in June. “It’s about how we make London the data capital of the world,” Blackwell says, using innovation to deliver benefits such as jobs or new digital services.

“London so far has been a collection of things that are good, but together we can do more than that – we can be greater than the sum of our parts,” Blackwell adds.

Theo Blackwell and Socitm president Geoff Connell will be giving the closing keynote at ShareDigital’18 on 8 March at Church House in Westminster. Information and registration: www.sharedigital.net

Read a longer version of this article in the new issue of Socitm’s In Our View magazine, now available to everyone.

Theo Blackwell: London can be world’s data capital

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