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techUK invites councils to innovators' network


Mark Say Managing Editor

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IT industry association techUK is planning to set up an innovator’s network in which local authorities will be able to speak with suppliers about possible technology solutions to common challenges.

Its associate director for local public services, Georgina Maratheftis, told UKAuthority’s Powering Digital Public Services conference this week that the launch is scheduled for May.

She said the network will act as a forum for peer-to-peer support and invited interested councils that are looking for new approaches to get in touch.

This reflects one of the priorities in techUK’s efforts to co-ordinate innovation in public sector digital.

“Where we can add value is by signposting good practice and bringing local authorities together with suppliers to solve common challenges and bring together different suppliers to act as consortia to act in response to a challenge,” Maratheftis said, adding:

“We’ll be creating forums focusing on common challenges to showcase innovation across the country and provide opportunities to connect with suppliers in a non-commercial environment.

“It will also provide a chance to demystify challenges and ask questions about emerging technologies to help realise what potential there is.”

Digital services vision

She said the move is aimed at helping to realise a vision of digital public services that techUK crowdsourced from members and local authorities before the Covid-19 pandemic.

This involves using digital to re-imagine service delivery that is user-centric and meets user needs, and adopts a smarter, more holistic vision of the citizen and place.

As an example of the benefits of early collaboration, she cited the Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interoperability (SAVVI) project, lead by iStandUK which is focused on establishing standards for vulnerability data in public services.

Last year a working group was set up as a forum for dialogue between industry and public authority members, with techUK providing the secretariat.


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