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Manchester City Council publishes digital strategy


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Manchester City Council has outlined four themes in its approach to modernising its services, improving local connectivity and promoting the digital economy.

They are included within a new digital strategy that it released this week, covering the period up to 2026 and developed with input of 63 partners and networks.

It is also planning to establish a small digital team to work with stakeholders on delivering the strategy.

The council said this is aimed at helping Manchester become a world leading digital city, along with tackling digital inclusion and supporting moves towards zero carbon emissions by 2038 or earlier.

In a document that emphasises broad themes rather than precise plans, the first is smart people, aimed at boosting local skills and job opportunities in the digital sector, and enabling people to access services digitally.

This includes working with industry and training providers, investing in facilities such as Manchester College’s city centre campus and Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Arts, encouraging entrepreneurship and providing new routes into careers in the sector.

Networks, infrastructure and neighourhoods

Secondly, digital places is about creating the right network access and digital infrastructure to support growth and innovation in connected ‘digital neighbourhoods’. This is accompanied by making better use of data to support service delivery.

The document emphasises the adoption of the Eindhoven Principles for the use of data and internet of things technology: privacy first; open data and interfaces; embrace open standards; share where possible; support modularity; and accept social responsibility.

The third theme is future prosperity, supporting the growth of the digital economy and ecosystem while improving the connections between businesses and people in Manchester. This includes targeted investment, strengthening existing networks and identifying new areas for growth.

Finally, efforts to build sustainable resilience will involve using digital innovation to meet net zero goals. This includes collecting and sharing data around carbon emissions and looking at how technology can help to manage demand for energy.

UK leader

Cllr Bev Craig, leader of the council, said: “Manchester is the UK’s leading digital city outside London with a fast-growing concentration of innovation, expertise and talent. But we can’t and won’t settle for that.

“We must build on these strengths to create a digitally inclusive economy where everyone is equipped with the skills and infrastructure needed to share in – and contribute to – success. We must also seize on the potential of technology to help us meet the collective target of Manchester becoming zero carbon by 2038 and to manage the impacts of climate change. 

“Our digital aspirations aren’t separate to the wider strategy for a thriving and sustainable city – they are fundamental to it. This new strategy will help power us along that path.”

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