1: Introduction

Councillor Theo Blackwell The Digital revolution matters to Camden and our Camden Plan (www.camden.gov.uk/camdenplan) because digital change creates both opportunities for innovation and growth, but also the potential to create greater uncertainty and alienation for those left behind.

Camden Digital Strategy puts active inclusion at the centre of all things digital.

The Internet is at the core of success in Britain and across the globe, disrupting traditional ways of doing things and powering new enterprises. It is impacting public services too by driving improvements in efficiency and productivity. Camden wants to realise how digital technology and Big Data can be a way to save money and improve services through co-production, collaboration and challenge by residents and businesses.

By the end of the decade users of public services will expect to access what they want 24/7, by a variety of digital means – phone, TV, computer, console. Public sector workforces will need to up-skill radically to meet these higher expectations from taxpayers and service users, as well as developing bold new solutions to social problems. There are now opportunities for councils to be the first to redesign public services around the consumer experience, enabled by personal mobile technology and open source thinking.

In a decade of austerity budgets, the use of predictive data insight into and open data can drive out costs between public services and allows clearer analysis of how to spend money efficiently, and preventively. Through greater transparency taxpayers will see our priorities for investment and how we make every pound work as hard as it can.

As technology changes, significant disparities in access and opportunity are emerging. The speed is such that the UK is in danger of creating digital elites ready to exploit this new environment, while the majority remain locked out from the benefits of change. Unless this is remedied the digital divide will be truly entrenched by the end of the decade. London will be at the centre of digital growth and it is vitally important that Camden, at the hub of the capital, develops ways of working which ensure that no one is left behind.

Ours is an active policy approach for local government, one which ensures that open data, collaboration, skills and support for entrepreneurialism and growth are at the heart of what we do.

Cllr Theo Blackwell
Cabinet Member for Finance
1 January 2014

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