Connected Local Government Live to cover cuts, smart places and Better Connected

Connected Local Government Live, a two-day successor to last year’s Better Connected Live event, will take place in Birmingham on 28 and 29 June.

Following their quarterly invitation-only meeting on 28 June, members of the Local CIO Council will be leading two special workshop events open to all delegates. Leeds City Council’s chief digital and information officer Dylan Roberts will chair a debate on the motion “This House believes that given the cuts to public services and in particular local government, councils have to focus their resources on delivering frontline services and outcomes rather than invest in better cyber security and IT.” Siobhan Coughlan, programme manager at the Local Government Association will speak in favour – while Socitm president and Norfolk County Council head of IMT Geoff Connell will oppose it.

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Connected Local Government Live to cover cuts, smart places and Better Connected

Queen’s speech: what to watch for and what’s missing

Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy and Research, Socitm

Her Majesty’s 64th Queen’s speech involved less ceremony than usual. As a result of the Conservative party lacking an overall majority in Parliament it also lacked several measures promised in that party’s manifesto.

Those councils involved in the development of autonomous vehicles will be interested in a bill which would extend motor insurance to cover them. But there is material in the speech for all Socitm members to consider – as well as gaps the government should think about filling.

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Queen’s speech: what to watch for and what’s missing

Socitm’s David Hopkins becomes Milton Keynes mayor

Long-standing Socitm member David Hopkins has become mayor of Milton Keynes, after nearly 40 years in local government. Read more.

Councillor Hopkins attended his first Socitm conference in the late 1990s when working for telecoms company Mercury, getting involved with the organisation through Bob Griffith, former head of IT services at Northamptonshire County Council. He recently stepped down as secretary of Socitm’s East region.

As deputy mayor, Hopkins opened Socitm’s annual conference last year in Milton Keynes. In his welcome speech, Hopkins described Milton Keynes as the most successful of all the UK’s post-war new towns with a current population of 260,000 and a target of 400,000 by 2050, with ambitious plans to use technology in this expansion. “In Milton Keynes, MK Smart is a live deployment of multiple smart city applications, which are being collectively designed to make tangible improvements to public service delivery, business innovation and citizen engagement,” he told the event.

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Socitm’s David Hopkins becomes Milton Keynes mayor

Some thoughts about the Government Transformation Strategy 2017-2020

By Dr Andy Hopkirk, Socitm Head of Research

We are four years on from the first Government Digital Service’s Government Digital Strategy of November 2012 and we now have GDS’s Government Transformation Strategy 20172020 just published (9 Feb 2017, http://bit.ly/2lnh1qV). What’s the difference between just more digital and transformation? And what does it look like meaning for Socitm members who are mostly in organisations outside Whitehall?

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Some thoughts about the Government Transformation Strategy 2017-2020

Digital transformation means making a difference

By Nicola Graham, Socitm Vice President and Head of ICT at Aberdeenshire Council

It was perhaps when my teenage son returned home and could not stop talking about how the new technology at his school was going to make doing his schoolwork ‘amazing’, that I realised what making a difference really means.

Being a lively and curious 14 year old, he is arguably a natural with tech, and more scrutinising of it as a result – certainly more so than is typical of my generation. And in his excitement, I couldn’t help but smile. Not only at his enthusiasm, but at the irony of how his mum, in the job he describes as ‘boring’, helped bring about that new school technology.

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Digital transformation means making a difference

Blockchain technology: could it transform digitally-enabled councils?

By Dr Andy Hopkirk, Socitm Head of Research

As the professional network for digital leaders in local public services, Socitm is at one with those that think there is great potential in blockchain technology, and perhaps even a step change on the road to a truly all-digital, open e-economy.

Blockchains underpin Bitcoin and other digital currencies, the first applications of the concept. These ‘digital crypto-currencies’ are viable alternatives to fiat paper money systems. They can operate without the need for a central bank or any other kind of single authoritative organisation to manage the money system and engender trust in it.

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Blockchain technology: could it transform digitally-enabled councils?