Interviews

12.02.16

London ‘on the precipice of digital change’

Source: PSE Feb/Mar 16

Kulveer Ranger, director of digital public services at Atos and former transport and digital advisor to the mayor of London, discusses how technology will shape the way London’s citizens engage with public services in the future.

Londoners will vote for their next mayor on 5 May and in the run-up to what will be a very interesting contest, there are calls for the candidates to consider how they will develop the capital’s digital future. 

Already deemed the ‘digital capital of Europe’ in some circles, London has come a long way in recent years. However, much more can be done to harness the power of technology to transform, innovate and revolutionise the use of digital services to power public services. 

An opinion paper produced by Atos, featuring contributions from a range of experts from the fields of business, technology and civic society, set out a number of policy areas where ‘digital devolution’ can help empower London and local government. 

Speaking to PSE, Kulveer Ranger, director of digital public services at Atos, who produced the paper, said: “Digital technology is now crucial, as is connectivity, to the welfare and wellbeing of Londoners, and to the economic vibrancy of this great city and the future of it.” 

He added that at a recent hustings event, mayoral candidates Zac Goldsmith (Con) and Caroline Pidgeon (Lib Dem) both highlighted the need for technology and connectivity to drive change and improvements in the capital. 

The Atos paper suggested that ‘digital devolution’ can help deliver public services that are convenient and value for money; can help modernise policing through the better use of data and technology; and can take transport management into an “era of dynamic mobility”. 

“We are entering an era of digital devolution,” said Ranger. “Over the last Parliament, and before, we have seen government wanting to devolve more political power and accountability to local government and cities. 

“That is only going to continue through this Parliament. They are looking to have metro- mayors and more power in the boroughs and councils. More needs to be done with less. But now it is a case of not just reducing, but doing things differently to deliver services that the public need and want. 

“There is an opportunity to use the technology that is at people’s fingertips – smartphones, tablets, mobile data – that allow us to redefine and design how public services work. It also means we can change the relationship between a citizen, local government and the city that they live in.” 

He added that this is already happening extensively in the private sector, and it is time for local government to grasp change and “deliver value for money for citizens and deliver tailored services for them through a digital eco-system”. 

Prior to our interview with Ranger, a study of 4,400 UK civil servants by IT firm CGI revealed that in December 2015, only 31% of civil servants said they share data with local government organisations. 

“We are standing on the precipice of immense change in how we use data, technology and how we deliver better services and better value,” said Ranger. “It is now about ensuring the opportunity is grasped by cities, local government and government.” 

He added that the relationship between government departments and local government is going to be crucial to how data flows in the future. He also noted that trusted digital industry partners could become the conduit between the two. 

“For industry players it has been a challenge because, up until now, people have thought [they] are dealing with either local government or big government, and actually we are going to become the conduit between both,” said Ranger. 

He added that the capital’s boroughs have the opportunity to deliver change now, and by working with “trusted partners” they can establish how they redesign their services and what it is they are trying to do. 

“We’ve got to get past the era of silos, departments and government agencies all either retaining their own data or not securely sharing it,” said Ranger. “No one knows the exact shape of the future, but we are excited and committed to playing our part to ensure that the political leaders of our city develop and deliver a digital vision for London that provides the opportunities and services that this city and its citizens deserve.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Cheshire East faces police probe over tampering of air quality data

22/09/2017Cheshire East faces police probe over tampering of air quality data

Cheshire East Council is to be investigated by police following allegations that air quality data collected by the local authority had been delib... more >
Birmingham bin strikes called off following key High Court ruling

21/09/2017Birmingham bin strikes called off following key High Court ruling

Strikes by refuse workers in Birmingham have this week been called off after the union won an important High Court ruling. Unite has called ... more >
IFS: Public sector faces recruitment chaos if pay cap is not dropped

21/09/2017IFS: Public sector faces recruitment chaos if pay cap is not dropped

The public sector will face major recruitment and retention issues if pay restraints, which are pushing wages to historically low levels, are con... more >
149x260 PSE Subscribe button

the raven's daily blog

How do we deliver true social and economic value for the community?

18/09/2017How do we deliver true social and economic value for the community?

Five years on from the introduction of the Social Value Act, Alison Ramsey, frameworks co-ordinator at Scape Procure, reflects on the key questions that prompted the legislation’s introduction. The Social Value Act was an important landmark. It decisively addressed the need for major public projects led by all public bodies to maxim... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Support for councils following Grenfell

04/09/2017Support for councils following Grenfell

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association (FIA), discusses the wider lessons of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and what measures and assess... more >
A quiet revolution

04/09/2017A quiet revolution

Dermot Ryan, programme director at NHS Digital for the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN), talks to PSE about the importance of moving to the ... more >
Effective leadership in uncertain times

04/09/2017Effective leadership in uncertain times

Dr David Beech, lecturer in people management at Salford Business School, argues that continuous renewal and progress is fundamental to effective... more >
Refocusing professional development

04/09/2017Refocusing professional development

Graeme McDonald, managing director of Solace, discusses the importance of taking time out to focus on learning, especially in the ever-changing l... more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

14/08/2017Time for reflection

A lot has happened since the last edition of PSE was published. In particular, the snap general election delivered an astounding result that many of the pollsters and political experts could not have predicted when Theresa May initially called for it back in April. Chris Painter, Professor Emeritus at Birmingham City University, provides ... read more >

public sector focus

Make the census meaningful again

11/09/2017Make the census meaningful again

Christopher Gallagher, Public Sector – ... more >
Time to revisit community engagement and rebuild trust

30/08/2017Time to revisit community engagement and rebuild trust

The Grenfell Tower disaster revealed a number... more >