techUK Members Help Inform the Development of the Smart London Plan

On 27 February techUK was delighted to host London’s first Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell, as part of the launch of the Mayor of London’s Listening Exercise for a new Smart London Plan.

The new Smart London Plan will show how data and digital technologies can be used to meet the Mayor’s commitments for a future, inclusive London in his mayoral strategies and the London Plan. It is also call to the tech community on what can be done to ensure better digital collaboration across London's boroughs and public services, better data-sharing, improved connectivity and digital skills, and to ensure that technology is designed around citizens’ needs. As part of the Listening Exercise Theo was keen to learn how innovation from data can be truly mobilised by public services in partnership with London’s world class tech communities. As well as asking what steps can we take to shape delivery so London can become be the global home to data innovation and artificial intelligence to boost growth and help make London a better place to live, work and visit.

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‘Coalition of the Willing’

Before gathering the views of the audience Theo Blackwell provided an update on his latest priorities and more context on the Smart London plan. To stay ahead of the technology curve, rather than follow it, Theo explained that a Smarter London needs new city-wide collaboration between public institutions, utilities, our world-class creative, scientific research and tech communities by and for Londoners. As part of this he will be publishing a robust work plan on world class connectivity and working with London Councils and the boroughs to build a ‘coalition of the willing’ to strengthen collaboration, sharing of best practice and capacity building across London’s local public services.

Data Economy

Theo stressed that we need a discussion around data that is different to the one we already have. Furthermore, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an opportunity to build a greater sense of trust and capability around data.

By 2030 the vision is London will have taken advantage of having a large data economy and seen as a leading AI city, with London boroughs and the NHS leaders in data.

Key Points from the Tech Community

After the briefing from Theo the tech industry were able to share their views, experiences and case studies on the following questions:

  • What is your experience of developing or scaling innovative services with London’s government and public agencies?
  • What challenges have you encountered?
  • What solutions suggest support collaboration between the tech sector and public services better?

The common themes included:

Procuring better

- Creating the environment where councils are able to articulate the problem first and pose the right questions to suppliers

- Helping councils make the most of existing frameworks such as G-Cloud

New models of working

- Moving away from business case culture

Growing GovTech Eco-system

- Removing barriers to new entrants wanting to enter the local government market

Further Information & How to Get Involved

You can still share your feedback and case studies via the following means:

See Theo’s long read about the Smart London Plan at

LondonExplore more at

Write to City Hall at

Tweet at @LDN_CDO or #smartlondon

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