01 Jul 2024

We need a cohesive vision for local government innovation

Local Public Services Innovation Summit event round-up

We were delighted to host the Local Public Services Innovation Summit on 12 June at techUK office where we convened over 100  senior digital leaders from across loca, central government and tech industry. We put the spotlight the good practise happening across the country and we explored how we can create the conditions for innovation to thrive, enabling the technologies to deliver improved and more resilient local public services and outcomes.

The themes we covered reflect key areas and topics that members, Local Public Services Committee, councils have flagged to us as important when it comes to barriers as well as opportunities around procurement, skills and using tech to transform local outcomes.

Sharna Quirke, Strategic Director for Local Government and Health, Hitachi Solutions and Chair of the Local Public Services Committee set the scene, stressing the need for cohesiveness when it comes to digital ambition across the industry. She noted the key pillars of our work within the Local Public Services Committee: innovation, influence, skills and procurement. Her call to action was around the Local Government Leaders Forum as we are keen to work closely with leaders in local government to exchange views and understand challenges and opportunities to take the digital ambition forward together.

Sharna said: “Innovation is not about new technology…. it’s about the ambition of the council to address a specific challenge, while recognising that technology has a part to play.”

Mark Thompson, Professor of Digital Economy, University of Exeter, Initiative for the Digital Economy at Exeter provided an exciting and thought-provoking keynote speech. Mark pointed the need to come together and agree where innovation happens and where the consolidation happens and move forward towards a common digitally enabled operating model.

Can we rethink procurement processes to foster innovation?

Our first panel discussed procurement as an enabler of innovation and how it can deliver better value, where we were joined by Denis Kaminskiy, Founder and Strategy Director, Arcus Global; Cameron Major, Sales Director, Oxygen Insights; Rebecca Collard, Prevention Manager, Adult Social Care, Norfolk County Council; Georgina Maratheftis, Associate Director for Local Public Services techUK (Chair).

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Denis said: “A well run Procurement is a crucial team project that should be used to enable innovation by clarifying the thinking and the requirements, deciding on how to select for and reward innovation and award to the right supplier or even whether the project is necessary in the first place.

Rebecca also highlighted that they are also working with the suppliers to develop future roles and future projects whilst they are looking at understanding their own market in Norfolk, different needs, and the “so what” about what they are trying to do.

What is needed to address skills challenges within local government

The second panel looked at the workforce of the future and how we can future proof local public services, and we were joined by Amanda Whicher, Director – UK&I Public Services Technology, HAYS Technology; Alex Shiell, Digital Manager, Rushmoor Borough Council; Dionne Lowndes, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Southwark Council; Kerry Dove, Chief Operating Officer, Lichfield District Council; Nick Richards, Chief Executive Officer, Me Learning UK; Nimmi Patel, Head of Skills, Talent, Diversity, techUK (Chair).

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Dionne highlighted their challenges as a council with 4000 staff of working in different roles and needing all of them to keep pace with technology, innovation and future skills, as well as the fact that people might need to move from role to role and learn new skills on their career path. She also pointed at the competitive job market in London and the wish to be able to offer better salaries.

Kerry said: “We've worked really hard about making sure that digital and IT is everyone's responsibility and a core part of being a corporate leader in our organisation. Our wider leadership team, know it's their responsibility to drive forward digital innovation, look for opportunities to digitalise their services, not just the IT and digital team.”

How can technology make a real impact within local government

The third panel addressed technologies transforming local outcomes and delivering resilient services and we were joined by Ade Bamigboye, Chief Technology Officer, Digital, Data & Technology, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Rehana Ramesh, Assistant Director - Customer Service, Digital and Data, London Borough of Hackney; Clare White, UK Government Client Manager, Riverbed Technology; Darius Toomer, Head of Agilisys Product, Agilisys; Ileana Lupsa, Programme Manager Local Public Services and Nations and Regions, techUK (Chair).

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Ade pointed out that there are opportunities around stable technologies and that not everything needs to be cutting edge, as well as place-based opportunities around AI and IoT, as well as around collaborating better as a sector to deliver these opportunities.

Rehana said: “That joint approach of solving a problem and taking ownership for that problem, I think that's what needs to change if you want to have a sustainable model going forward, we're not going to be able to fight this battle on our own.” She also sent out an inspiring call to action – “Be brave!” – to challenge thinking, walk away from things that don’t work or implement things when the time is not right.

Sign up for our newsletter and learn more about our Local Public Services Programme here.

Find out more about our Local Public Services Committee here.

Local Government Skills Survey

techUK launched a short Local Government Skills Survey and we would like to invite you to fill this in or share with your relevant partners in local government who might be interested.

This survey is designed for those working or recruiting within Local Government and will help inform how local government can develop the workforce of tomorrow.

Insights will be shared with local government to guide future technology efforts, address barriers, and support a diverse workforce. Recommendations will suggest small changes for positive outcomes and inclusive digital transformation.

The survey and more details can be found here.

Ileana Lupsa

Ileana Lupsa

Programme Manager, Local Public Services and Nations and Regions, techUK

Ileana Lupsa is the Programme Manager for Local Public Services and Nations and Regions, at techUK.

Ileana studied electronics, telecommunications and IT as an undergraduate, followed by an MSc in engineering and project management at Coventry University.

She refined her programme management expertise through her most recent roles working in the automotive industry.

Ileana is passionate about sustainability and creating a positive impact globally through innovation.

[email protected]

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Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Associate Director, Local Public Services, techUK

Georgina is techUK’s Associate Director for Local Public Services

Georgina works with suppliers that are active or looking to break into the market as well as with local public services to create the conditions for meaningful transformation. techUK regularly bring together local public services and supplier community to horizon scan and explore how the technologies of today and tomorrow can help solve some of the most pressing problems our communities face and improve outcomes for our people and places.

Prior to techUK, Georgina worked for a public policy events company where she managed the policy briefing division and was responsible for generating new ideas for events that would add value to the public sector. Georgina worked across a number of portfolios from education, criminal justice, and health but had a particular interest in public sector transformation and technology. Georgina also led on developing relationships across central and local government.

If you’d like to learn more about techUK, or want to get involved, get in touch.

[email protected]
020 7331 2029

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Local Public Services Programme

techUK's Local Public Services Programme provides the forum for local public services to engage with industry to better understand the innovations out there, horizon-scan how the technologies of today and tomorrow can re-imagine local public services and solve some of the most pressing challenges our communities and places face. It also helps connect suppliers with each other, identify new business partnerships to help grow an ever thriving local government ecosystem.

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Social Care Working Group

The Working Group acts a neutral forum for knowledge exchange across the supplier base and for public sector stakeholders to engage with the market. While identifying common challenges and solutions and offering the opportunity to leverage synergies to partner as often an ecosystem approach is needed to solve a problem.

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