07 Feb 2024

Talking 5 with Local Public Services Member Elcom

This month's Talking 5 guest is Amanda King, Senior Executive NHS and Government at Elcom.

Each month, techUK's Associate Director for Local Public Services, Georgina Maratheftis, interviews a member active in the local government space about their vision for the future of local public services and where digital can make a real difference to people and society. This month, we talked with Amanda King about the role that digital plays in Local Government.

Welcome, Amanda, Firstly, tell me more about you, your career and how you got to this position today.

I have had the pleasure of working in the technology advisory, strategy, and software for 30 years, studied engineering and a Technology Mgt Degree. Developed my skills in house helping to centralise IT at one of the big Four accounting firms before growing into consulting and advisory and working for Gartner. I have spent the last decade helping Public Sector organisations, across an array of programs, with a focus on Local Government technology advisory and for eight years I have been an elected Borough Councillor.

This has given me insight especially into governance and audit, policy, and regulations. It is a massive task for Local Government to navigate the ever-changing landscape aligned with statutory duty and citizen engagement. The array of separate disciplines within LG operations does not easily lend itself to uniform processes and as such creates silos and budgets restrictions. In addition, the ability to use capital to invest and in return generate revenue income, to help delivery key services has become an opportunity and risk.

A long-term technology and communications plan is needed in addition to focused branding for each Local Council citizens enablement model.

What is the greatest opportunity for local government when it comes to digital?

AI, Cloud, and analytics encourage new engagements with flexible accessibility. The biggest opportunity is in analytics and being specific and relative to the changing political demands and needs,  to foresee or engage rapidly will bring confidence to the relationship between council and citizen. Local government has been great at developing robust systems such as tax payments, road repairs, air quality or housing. Those on the front foot can take all the data they have and use analytics and processes through AI to forecast and attribute effective public demand lead engagement. Focus on being proactive, be that flooding forecasts, public health, routes for prevention linking to help available from outside bodies. Have analytics reporting digital plans from the top down imagine having the data to show the forecasted health needs related to housing and traffic analysis before submitting a grant proposal for a health programs, often departments do not link knowledge together. There is a business system called 'trimodal' a three-layer model, innovation at the top, integration in the middle and system of record at the bottom. Local government have used technology to do their 'systems of record' it is time to measure the maturity of a council's digital strategy upwards to the innovation layer and that means creating innovation hubs together with outside bodies, leadership and most importantly the public.

What is your vision for the future of local public services and places?

Make local public services the centre and hub of a town or city and valued by its citizens. I have seen this at one council with buy from its citizens in the northwest.

To do this there is a need to align and connect with citizens not just to collect council tax or provide a council home or signpost to a health service but create a brand and passion for service back to the community, educate, engage, excite an understanding of the council, include in committees, open understanding of regulations. Enhance the smart citizen engagement persona per councils DNA through digital. This will go a long way to develop the digital maturity with the identity for the council. What does a local government brand look like, historic town, industrial city, digital town? So many digital strategies are product or problem let and time is needed to reach higher and be innovative based on local needs. Be bold and create the innovative layer of the strategy in conjunction with the transitional and systems of record layers already being permutated across the public sector. The LGA has a great paper on the implementation programme leads and support for digital this is a good foundation layer, mature upwards to the innovative layer then citizens would benefit.

Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Associate Director, Local Public Services, techUK

Georgina is techUK’s Associate Director for Local Public Services

Georgina works with suppliers that are active or looking to break into the market as well as with local public services to create the conditions for meaningful transformation. techUK regularly bring together local public services and supplier community to horizon scan and explore how the technologies of today and tomorrow can help solve some of the most pressing problems our communities face and improve outcomes for our people and places.

Prior to techUK, Georgina worked for a public policy events company where she managed the policy briefing division and was responsible for generating new ideas for events that would add value to the public sector. Georgina worked across a number of portfolios from education, criminal justice, and health but had a particular interest in public sector transformation and technology. Georgina also led on developing relationships across central and local government.

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