Councils must keep digital services local, says Camden CIO


Camden Council chief information officer is calling for councils to keep digital services local to consumers in order to make the best progress towards a digital transformation.

He says that the success of digital services will rely on “flexible architectures, not platforms per se” and an increased co-operation between authorities in sharing their strategies.

Following comments by Brighton & Hove leader, Jason Kitcat, in Socitm’s ‘Better Connected 2015’ report, John Jackson said “the key to local government digital transformation is to harness our collective talent and resources.

We are so much stronger when we work together and local government is already driving innovation and new thinking ahead in the public sector so there is a base from which we can build.”

In addition, Jackson outlined a digital strategy for the future focusing on “keeping local digital services close to local people” rather than using a “centrally imposed one size fits all approach”:

  • Moving away from isolated services and encouraging “aggressive collaboration” to share codes and architectural blueprints
  • Help local authorities develop a stronger architectural practice to be better placed to influence and direct change
  • Champion open systems and open source data for government
  • Address the supplier market so that systems are flexible and interoperable so that consumers are not trapped using proprietary platforms
  • To think beyond transactional digital services so that data is shared and integrated across government, including healthcare.

Jackson said his targets could be achieved “by creating an Open Systems Alliance across government, both local and central, to drive digital transformation which builds on existing initiatives but also creates a new movement from which we can collectively envision and develop new approaches for the future.”

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