London Borough of Camden at Smart City Expo, The Mayor of London Stand

Nov 13, 2016 ·

Screen shot 2016 11 13 at 10.16.27

The London borough of Camden sits at the heart of the capital and is home to 240,000 residents, tens of thousands of businesses, and is an internationally renowned tourism destination. Camden hosts a world-class knowledge quarter with major universities and colleges, as well as leading medical and scientific institutions. It is home to national cultural assets such as the British Museum and British Library, a thriving business hub, and a vibrant and socially mixed community.

Camden launched its Digital Strategy in which Cllr. Theo Blackwell (Cabinet member for Finance, Technology and Growth) mentions "The Digital revolution matters to Camden and our Camden Plan 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."

Even though Camden made the Digital Strategy public in 2014 it has been on a journey to transformation using digital since 2010 (journey well outlined in prezi here) and at the heart of it is use of data and analytics to inform decision making as we moved towards an outcomes based approach to services and a commitment to build culture of open by default.

In terms of data and analytics Camden currently uses over 45 business dashboards (enabled by Qlikview and aiming to deliver more than 70 dashboards by Mar 17) currently used by managers, staff and various services that provide ability to visually interrogate data with a view to improve performance management in services, enable informed decision making as well as determining the future outcomes for the services. The dashboard replace a previously paper heavy system of managing performance and at the same time enable transformation by providing a way in which data can be visually cut in variety of ways that cannot be done via traditional methods.

Camden extended its commitment of being a democratically accountable public body by releasing an open data charter and an open data platform provided by Socrata in May 2015 similar to the one used in New York and it is already one of the leading contributors to the London data store and helps Camden’s residents (creating services in an innovative way for e.g. planning alerts), businesses (for e.g. AppyParking harvesting Camden’s open data) and the council itself (in terms of becoming open and accountable for releasing data sets as open and in the process reducing officer time spent on providing data).

Around joining up our data Camden has created a Residents Index (using IBM product) which brings together single view of a resident from 16+ different services with a view to share across the council and enable efficiencies – key examples of this include use of the data for fraud reduction, for e.g. tenancy cost which could cost the council hundreds of thousands per case. In addition the joined up view of the data also allows exploitation of the data held across multiple systems and enabling new and predictive insights (such as applying predictive analytics on complex cases to create preventative measures).

In context of London and working with partners Camden works closely with a number of partners and hosts the Local Digital Coalition which aims to improve innovation between authorities and promote commonality. Camden also participates as one of the pilots as part of the London Office of Data analytics which is looking to test that performing data analytics on datasets sourced from multiple local authorities and public sector bodies can help reform public services in the capital.

Camden is also running a number of pilots within the borough that explore use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies this includes trial of parking bay sensors, smart lighting, smart meters and exploring use of IoT around waste management services all of which contribute towards improving services and targeting resources effectively. We are also looking to explore how technology in our buildings can be scaled up with use of IoT to provide improved services at less operational costs as well as inform any preventative measures that can be identified using data and evidence applying a whole system approach.

Lastly but possibly most importantly Camden’s successes to date is also a testament to the digital leadership commitments it has shown to date and continues to expand its thinking on, whether its mangers, leadership teams and officers or political leadership (Cllr. Theo Blackwell is our lead member for technology, finance and growth) – we look forward to discussing the above journey some of the future potential and more further at the Smart City Expo Congress 2016.

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