The London Office of Innovation and Technology (LOTI) has been officially launched, with indications that its early projects will include apprenticeships, an information sharing framework, the London Data Store and encouraging the city’s councils to collaborate on projects.
Hosted by London Councils, the grouping of the city’s local authorities, it is a collaboration between the London boroughs and backed by the mayor, with the aim of fostering new ideas and technology for the public good.
It will be headed up by Eddie Copeland (pictured), who is scheduled to take up the post in mid July and is currently director of government innovation at innovation charity Nesta.
London councils said LOTI will focus on six core areas of work: digital skills training for public sector leaders; making it easier for boroughs to share evidence of works; sharing procurement needs to shape the govtech market; facilitating improved peer-to-peer sharing of tools, patterns and code; expanding partnerships with govtech bodies, universities and non-profit organisations; and supporting the adoption of the Local Government Digital Declaration.
It also flagged up four initial enabling projects, one of which is to increase the number of digital apprenticeships in the city. It pointed to a model pioneered by Hackney Council that recruits local residents into apprenticeships focused on digital work.
Another is to encourage collaboration between councils by providing a single place for them to make public details of ongoing digital projects. This will use the LocalGov Digital platform that was reactivated last year by Hackney and has won the support of the Greater London Authority.
Third is the creation of a framework for the safe, ethical and secure sharing of information to support the use of data to tackle social and public service challenges; and fourth is the development of the London Data Store to encourage collaboration between public and private sectors.
The priorities have been determined by the 15 founding boroughs in the Core LOTI group. London Councils said it anticipates that more will join and that strategic partnerships will be formed with other public services and universities.
Some have already pledged to work with LOTI, including the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, the London Fire Brigade, the Olympic Park, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government.
Copeland said: “Making better use of technology and data is key to so many of the challenges London faces. To meet the needs and expectations of London’s fast growing population, public services in the capital must be set up to thrive in the internet age and make the most of all the tools and methods at their disposal.
“LOTI has a crucial role to play and I’m hugely excited to be leading this new venture. Through building shared capability among the boroughs, we will improve London’s capacity to experiment, collaborate and secure all sorts of important benefits for Londoners.”
Bloomberg Associates has supported the setting up of LOTI, the plans for which first emerged in 2017.
Amendment on 14 June with details of Eddie Copeland's starting date