Camden Council has published a digital strategy as it bids to save money and improve public services.
In a booklet published online, Cabinet member for finance Theo Blackwell explains that the council wants to "realise how digital technology and big data can be a way to save money and improve services through co-production, collaboration and challenges by residents and businesses".
He says that the public-sector workers need to "up-skill radically" to ensure that users of public services will be able to access what they want 24/7, through a variety of digital means.
Some of the key priorities, as outlined in the document, are: to develop new solutions with partners to reduce inequality, foster digital skills through coding and other learning initiatives in schools, stimulate an expansion of high-speed internet access across the borough, using business intelligence tools to put resources where they are most needed and maximising digital channels, including social media.
The London council also states that it wants to enable the delivery of "value for money services by ‘getting it right first time' through efficient online services", and ensure that the council's workforce is digital and mobile by default, taking advantage of what it deems an emerging "internet of things" phenomenon to redesign smarter public services around citizens and businesses.
The digital strategy relies on several "foundations", Blackwell says, which include growing digital centres of excellence, protecting privacy, implementing a radical open systems technology platform for government that is flexible and adaptable and promoting an open systems alliance for public bodies and partners to enable IT standardisation, code sharing and service integration across the public sector. He also states that the council wants to exploit the potential of public cloud services and invest in IT resilience to ensure that its citizens, businesses and staff have access to reliable IT systems.
Blackwell warned that the UK is on course to create a digital divide that is "truly entrenched by the end of the decade" unless action is taken now, and he said it was "vitally important" that Camden develops ways of working which ensure that no one within the borough is left behind.
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