London heralds ‘new era of digital transformation’ for borough councils

Group representing all councils in the capital launches the London Office of Technology and Innovation

Credit: Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment

London Councils, a group representing all 33 local authorities across the capital has claimed the newly launched London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI) will kick-start a “new era of digital transformation” for the city.

LOTI – the creation of which was first detailed in the mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s smart-city strategy published in October 2018 – has now been formally launched. It has been established with “a mission of fostering radical and effective ideas for the benefit of citizens, communities and businesses”. 

It will begin by focusing on a handful of projects, including taking a digital apprenticeship scheme developed by Hackney Council and implementing it in other parts of the city. 

LOTI will also look to make it easier for innovative tech suppliers to engage with government by establishing a “a single online source for all council projects”.

The organisation – whose agenda will, for the time being, be set by the “15 founding boroughs who form the core LOTI group” – will also seek to create and implement a framework to better enable local authorities to share data in a secure and ethical way. 

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Alongside this, the innovation agency will also work on developments to the London Datastore – an open-source portal established by the Greater London Authority.

Eddie Copeland is to depart his current government-focused role at innovation charity Nesta and take up a post as the inaugural director of LOTI.

“Making better use of technology and data is key to so many of the challenges London faces,” he said. “To meet the needs and expectations of London’s fast-growing population, public services in the capital must be set up to thrive in the internet age and make the most of all the tools and methods at their disposal.”

Copeland added: “LOTI has a crucial role to play and I’m hugely excited to be leading this new venture. Through building shared capability among the boroughs, we will improve London’s capacity to experiment, collaborate and secure all sorts of important benefits for Londoners.”

In addition to working with its founder-member councils, LOTI will also seek to engage with a range of other public institutions in the capital, including universities, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, and the agency dedicated to the Olympic park and the legacy of the 2012 games. The innovation organisation will also work with the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government.

Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer for London – a role created by mayor Khan – said: “The capital’s public services need to be able to anticipate and make the most out of future developments in technology. LOTI will support digital collaboration across London’s councils and play a crucial role in mobilising the capital’s tech sector and universities as we develop new services for Londoners together.”

He added: “All cities need to think how best they mobilise their public agencies, universities and tech sectors to solve urban problems, big or small, facing the citizens we serve. Our work together takes the next step in city-wide collaboration by supporting the common building blocks – data-sharing, leadership, talent, creating and sharing digital services together – London needs as we go through a period of rapid technological change.”


Sam Trendall

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