London looks for chief digital officer

Mayor Sadiq Khan announced search for expert to fill new role with emphasis on smart city developments

The Greater London Authority is to get its first chief digital officer (CDO), with the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan announcing today that he is taking steps to fulfil the manifesto commitment to make an appointment.

City of London arial viewHe related the move to an ambition for London to be the world’s leading smart city with digital technology playing a central role in its economy and public services.

The CDO will work with the Mayor’s Office, the Smart London Board, local authorities and the technology sector to encourage collaboration and adoption of common standards around data and service transformation. The position will also be focused on the development of smart city technology and urban innovation.

One of the priorities will be the development and delivery of a Smart London Strategy to open up the city to innovation through smart technologies and programmes.

The role will also involve anticipating the impacts of new technologies, developing GLA policies and actions in response, promoting digital inclusion and leading on cyber security.

Public services prominent

Khan’s statement made clear that the public services element will be a central role of the job.

“London is a world leading hub for digital technology, data science and urban innovation. These technologies have the potential to transform the way that Londoners and visitors experience our city,” he said.

“I want to take the digital transformation of our public services to the next level, so we can improve the ways in which we plan and deliver public services for Londoners.

“I am delighted to begin my search for a chief digital officer, so we can make London an even smarter smart city and use our incredible technological abilities to the best effect.”

techUK support

The move has received support from Julian David, chief executive officer of IT industry association techUK.

“By building on London's reputation as a world leading tech hub, this role can now provide a critical focal point in creating a world leading smart city that works for all of London's businesses and citizens,” he said. “Done right, this appointment can send a beacon around the world that London is streets ahead when it comes to tech.

"This will not be a straightforward role - London's diverse tech sector combined with local government structures means that the CDO will have to show leadership across a complex range of stakeholders whilst also understanding where the latest tech solutions can make tangible differences to the life of the city.

“It is key that this role has capacity and resource to make sure the Mayor's vision for London's digital future is translated into delivery.”

Image by Michael Gwyther-Jones, CC BY 2.0 through flickr