Keep it local: the value of public-private partnerships in local government


By Michael Hughes

Whether it be the creation of bottom-up, community-led initiatives designed to drive digital literacy standards and generate private sector investment in the local area, or ensuring that the smart city concept is a reality with qualified and measurable points of impact established throughout the UK rather than merely media generated hype, PSEICT 2018 provided many points of learning and examples of best practice for delegates, speakers and exhibitors alike.

Smart Cities, Smart Citizens

Andy Powell, Chief Technology Officer, Eduserv

Andy provided a high-level presentation which was centred on the role Eduserv plays in producing data powered insights for local authorities in order to better direct and deliver public services. This is done by securing actionable insights from big data and analytics which map the socio-economic requirements of a defined space and provide local government service delivery drivers with data-driven insights which go beyond perception, better inform decision-making processes and cater more accurately to the needs of the population. Such requirements can be as diverse as ageing population projections and future care home provision, measuring the demands on school places
due to population growth and accurately capturing the size and scale of necessary infrastructure projects to support rail and road investment.

The value of such insights cannot be underestimated as we increasingly look to change the relationship between government and citizen, realise the potential for better governance frameworks, and improve the socio-politicol economic conditions of both rural and urban environments.

Local Government does Digital: The Wigan Story

Alison Hughes, Assistant Director Strategic ICT Partnerships, Wigan and Bolton Councils

The issue of digital literacy is an increasingly important one given the role that online platforms play in our life. This is particularly true in communities which have not yet substantially diversified their economies following de-industrialisation. This is exactly why Alison’s story was so inspiring for attending delegates, a significant proportion of which work within local government and face similar challenges.

As part of a social contract with the local population, Wigan Council was able to drive up digital literacy standards and make Wigan a more attractive location for large corporates by establishing a digital task force which integrated into the community via a series of workshops which actively promoted digital champions from within and established partnerships with private, public and voluntary organisations with strong digital literacy reputations. Such engagement produced an environment in which local businesses began to generate greater levels of revenue by better developing their online presence, improved the rate at which schoolchildren wished to take up STEM subjects and made Wigan a more attractive location for large-scale enterprises through the adoption of the ‘get broadband faster scheme’.

The lesson learned was that if you wish to create a better environment for your citizens you need to immerse yourself within the community in order to see the world from their perspective, understand their needs and facilitate communal growth by tying the social with the political and economic.

Join us for PSEICT 2019

Join Whitehall Media for our 11th annual Public Sector Enterprise ICT conference set to take place on 26 November 2019 in London. For more details, visit www.whitehallmedia.co.uk.