Leadership, Culture & Governance Central to Improved Multi-Agency Working

Co-operation, collaboration and data sharing between different public sector agencies at a local level is perhaps the single most important key to identifying interventions, improving efficiency and designing predictive services that ultimately help to improve outcomes for all citizens.

As such, techUK were delighted to host an event bringing together public sector and tech industry to share best practice, ideals, tools and resources on how we can work together to create the environment that supports and drives effective multi-agency collaboration and enables the technology to succeed. Speakers at the event included: Mark Goossens, Client Director, Home Office & Police, IBM; Robert Leach, Acting CEO, Police ICT Company; Jennifer Housego, Head of Digital, Essex and Kent Police; Hilary Simpson, Former Head of Information Management, Camden Council; Barry Lloyd, Head of Policing and Public Safety, MarkLogic; and Paul Drewett, Public Sector, Red Hat.

multi-agency panel

The overarching message from the event was that by effectively joining up data we can genuinely make a difference to citizen’s lives. Information sharing creates intervention opportunities and improves social outcomes. Key themes and insights from the session included:

Strategic Alignment

The relationship between councils and police is multi-dimensional, and this is on top of the existing fragmentation within each sector. Civic leaders have an important role in bringing partners together and a strategic alignment between local authorities and policing should be a precondition for data sharing. Leadership has a pivotal role in driving forward and formalising this agenda across public sector partners. A good starting point would be looking for common cultural points across agencies.

Place v Transformation Agenda

Devolution is enabling a shift towards a ‘place-based’ approach but may be seen as competing to the priorities of the organisations transformation agenda. There was lots of discussion on how this can be complementary and making ‘place-based’ actually work across different forces and councils where there might not be a champion, a metro Mayor, for example to act as the convener and leader for this.

Taking a Partnership Approach

We heard about the great work Essex and Kent Police are doing to solve the most complex problems with partners across academia, business, and councils. This raised how important meaningful engagement can be in helping public sector articulate the problem and creating a roadmap to solving it.

The GDPR Opportunity

It was emphasised that GDPR should be seen as an opportunity for public sector to review their existing information governance frameworks whilst also looking at data ethics and how consent will be captured. It was also noted that matching technology will have an important role in helping councils to get the whole picture of the citizen. Furthermore, GDPR can act as a good data maturity tool for local public services.

Art of the Possible

There is still some work to do in demystifying the barriers to data sharing and it can’t be underestimated the significance of doing and showing what works. Talking is no longer enough, we must demonstrate what the art of the possible is. Local public services and suppliers could do more together on problem solving and techUK is well placed to convene the market on understanding what the ‘art of the possible is.’

Next Steps

Following this event techUK will be a publishing a paper with key recommendations and showcasing base practice on breaking down the barriers to multi-agency working. If you would like to get involved in the paper or share a case study please contact either Georgina Maratheftis or Henry Rex.

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