England & Wales HR, workforce and communications, Technology

Viewpoint: Building the smarter state


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Georgina Maratheftis, Head of Programme – Local Public Services at TechUK writes about the Building the Smarter State Conference – free for the public sector to attend.

TechUK and LGiU have also partnered on a series of roundtables on children’s services and technology. We are looking for additional public sector case studies for a forthcoming publication. Write to us at [email protected] with your stories or find out how they could feature in a podcast series.

Building the smarter state

On 18 September techUK will be convening the breadth and depth of the public sector and tech industry at our flagship public sector conference, Building the Smarter State, to showcase how technology is shaping today’s and tomorrow’s public services. However, for transformation to be meaningful people, technology and processes must be aligned, and users need to be empowered to adopt new and emerging technologies. That is why at the heart of this year’s conference is the twin theme of people and place.  Speakers and delegates will be exploring how emerging tech and societal trends will transform how public services are designed and delivered, the workforce that will be delivering them and the citizens they’re designed for. As well as how we build a public service that is inclusive, accessible, and represents the people it serves.

We are delighted to welcome keynotes from speakers such as John Manzoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service, Cabinet Office to articulate the vision of the future of the civil services, and driving innovation in the public sector to hearing from digital leaders across the country on how they’re harnessing digital to create places where citizens want to love, work, thrive and feel safe.

Collaboration is key

The challenges public services face cut across agencies and localities. More and more public services are recognizing that a multi-agency approach is needed as well as working with industry as partners to deliver improved outcomes for citizens. It is about being part of a diverse, inclusive and innovative eco-system and we are seeing a growing trend towards a place-based approach. Ultimately it is about putting the citizen at the heart of the service, cutting across boundaries with a shared endeavor to improve outcomes for the people and place. Technology has an enabling role in making a place-based approach a reality. Digital is instinctively designed to assist collaboration. Technology can enable seamless integration of services to improve quality of processes and outcomes, allowing greater self-service and empowering citizens to manage their own situation. While a data enriched place can enable services to be more targeted to the needs of citizens. For this to be successful the data needs to be of the highest quality and be shared in an effective and secure manner. We are seeing regions develop offices for data analytics to bring together local public service agencies. The Worcestershire Office of Data Analytics (WODA) was recently set-up with the aim to change the approach to data sharing across the county. It brings together partners across the local government public service landscape to introduce innovative ways to address the challenges of the place and use data to bring frontline insights that will create a data-driven culture and drive digital transformation. We are delighted to have Neil Crump, Chief Data Officer for WODA speak at the conference on how data sharing has been made possible across a place.

Technology, however, is the easy part. Leadership and culture are essential in creating the environment for people and agencies to feel confident and empowered to break down silos and share – whether that’s data or experiences.  The devolved areas are a good starting point in demonstrating the possibility of a place base approach and engendering change. We look forward to hearing from Phil Swan, CIO of Greater Manchester Combined Authority the regions vision. We can’t forget that the workforce is also a user and we have an impressive panel at the start of the day including Joanna Davinson, CDIO Home Office and Rachel Dunscombe, Chief Executive, NHS Digital Academy looking at how we equip and train our workforce to meet the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow.

Join in the conversation

Share what you think the smarter state looks at @techUK #techUKSmarterState and we hope you can join us on the 18th September to hear and share what the future of public services will look like. If you haven’t already, you can register here (free to attend for the public sector).