Just published: Resilient people, communities and places - the report of last year's St George's House consultation

About Us

Policy themes

Socitm policy briefing - Our key policy themes 2022

We cover our policy themes in our Policy Briefing: Our key policy themes 2022

Our policy themes

View our infographic about this policy theme

This is a new theme for Socitm, reflecting the extraordinary impacts of Covid-19 on our members. Organisations and local, national and regional economies, and local authorities have been forced to change the way they work to address the needs of their communities.  

The challenge is: how can we successfully champion and stimulate place-based regeneration, sustainability and connectivity to overcome these impacts and live with Covid-19? Central to this will be to connect and embed local public sector innovation, technology and modernisation, aligning with Socitm’s ambition to support the growth and development of resilient people, communities, and places.  

Key elements and challenges:

  • Support regeneration: building on the four pillars of Reset, Reform, Renew and Resilient to deliver improved place-based systems, services and solutions. These will all underpin post-Covid recovery and enable resilient people, communities and places to thrive. 
  • Champion sustainability: encouraging the local public sector to support the establishment of economically sustainable, socially just and ecologically safe places in which people and communities can thrive.  
  • Enable connectivity: supporting smart and digital places where internet connectivity is designed in collaboration with citizens, and other stakeholders. Public agencies’ interaction with citizens is accessible, understandable and inclusive. 
  • Develop placed-based “what works outcomes” that help create social and economic wealth; improve productivity and employment; Increase the health and wellbeing of all; and deliver resilient, sustainable and connected places – improving the quality of life for people and communities. 

Policy theme team

Samantha Smith
Policy lead: Sam Smith, Assistant director of IT & digital services, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council
Key partners: AvePoint, Tanium
Team members: Martin Ferguson, Policy and research director; William Barker, Digital ethics lead

View our infographic about this policy theme

To support leaders in co-design, co-creation and co-delivery of public services that achieve better outcomes in the communities they serve. This will include maximising the potential of digital opportunities within a dynamic environment, using service design principles to consider the complete service requirements. The approach needs to be a holistic one, focusing on all the core components, stakeholders, organisations and users that combine to facilitate the establishment and delivery of service outcomes in any given ecosystem.  

It needs to ‘bridge to digital’ – to embrace the role of new digital technologies and effective use of data insight in delivering better services, to make the best use of systems and to realise the full benefits of technology investments.

Key elements and challenges:

  • Design digital: an understanding of service design and digitally aware leadership within public service organisations, as well as partners, businesses and communities, to co-design, co-create and collaborate with everyone who touches the ecosystem.
  • Deliver digital: an appreciation of the importance of governance, standards and agile practices in translating service design into systems.
  • Do digital: make the right use of digital, data and technology – the use of appropriate technology platforms and solutions to fulfil the service design, to enable people to access systems and to ensure robust data management.

This approach will enable transition to deliver more mature digital outcomes, by embracing new and totally different ways of collaborating and working to improve place-based local services for the benefit of our citizens

Policy theme team

Key partner: Microsoft
Team members: Nadira Hussain, Chief executive officer (CEO); Andrew Rogers, Innovation and insight director (Socitm Advisory)

View our infographic about this policy theme

ICT service delivery is no longer business as usual. We need to modernise and to make decisions about how we manage and resource our operations in different ways. To do this, we need to make sense of emerging technologies to underpin new service patterns while recognising ongoing funding challenges to meet the increasing expectations of service users. How do we make this happen seamlessly and effectively?

Key elements and challenges:

  • Support innovation: through the creation of scalable solutions that enable place-based, smart and sustainable local public services.
  • Enhance technological change: through advocating the ethical, inclusive and secure development, design, and adoption of place-based digital, data and technology solutions and services
  • Champion modernisation: through developing leading-edge thinking, skills, policy and research into to what works and what needs to change to support place-based ICT service delivery and data systems.
  • Empower place-based change: through making sense of emerging technologies to underpin new service patterns that will enable the development of inclusive, resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive.

Policy theme team

Alison Hughes
Policy lead: Alison Hughes, Assistant director of ICT, digital and customer at Liverpool City Council
Key partner: Okta
Team members: Dave Sanderson, Member services director; Andrew Rogers, Innovation and insight director (Socitm Advisory)
Strategic partners: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), LG Cyber Security Stakeholder Group, WARPs, iNetwork

View our infographic about this policy theme

How do we understand and promote the ethical, responsible and secure use of technologies? This includes the data generated and stored, and the public service designs, processes and interactions they enable. It also extends to the outcomes they generate. All this while ensuring public benefit and minimising unintended consequences. In practical terms, what do we mean by ethics and how do we apply them?

Key elements and challenges:

  • Champion the ethical use of technologies and data so that they do good not harm, are used fairly and operate transparently.
  • Promote the five traits of responsible use of technology and data: technical knowledge, social responsibility, foundation of trust, ethical deliberation and leadership commitment.
  • Align, in partnership with the Cyber Technical Advisory Group (C-TAG), local public sector technology and data security with the wider aims and objectives of the National Cyber Security Strategy and Secure Connected Places programme.
  • Advocate the wider adoption and application of ethical and security practices in accordance with the Seven Principles of Public Life : selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership, and the Local Public Service Senior Managers: Code of Ethics. 

Policy theme team

Key partner: Hornbill
Team members: Martin Ferguson, Policy and research director; William Barker, Digital ethics lead
Strategic partners: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Scottish Government Cyber Group, Oxford Internet Institute’s Data Ethics Lab, Global Peter Drucker Forum

View out infographic about this policy theme

Our Modern Leadership guides, specifically ‘Leadership in a Digital World –a perspective from the Socitm Leadership Academy’, articulates the pace at which technological advancement is happening… It describes the fact we are all experiencing the impact of digital technology on our lives. If we are to consider this phenomenon and respond to it positively and proactively from our sector’s perspective. 

Key elements and challenges:  

  • Enable the development of digital leadership: support leaders and managers to have the strategic vision, professional capabilities, and ethical frameworks to effectively champion innovation, technology, and modernisation in support of the people, communities, and places they serve.
  • Champion Diversity and inclusivity: create a culture that promotes and recognises the importance of diverse leadership and teams, including the improved representation of women, for the design of services and products that work for everyone.
  • Training: equip staff with the appropriate skills, attitudes and behaviours to enable more mobile, agile and efficient local public services.
  • Awareness: ensure through offering targeted advice and guidance that all practitioners impacted by these challenges, have a better understanding of what needs to be done to respond.
  • Skills and learning: promote steps to build a digitally capable workforce and to address gaps in leadership, diversity, and hard and soft skills.

Policy theme team

Team members: Nadira Hussain, Chief executive officer (CEO); Aidan Matthews, Leadership programme manager; Andrew Rogers, Innovation and insight director (Socitm Advisory); Matt Gascoigne, Chief operating officer (Socitm Advisory)
Strategic partners:

Our policy work

For each of these five themes, Socitm works with its members and Local CIO Council, and with strategic and international partners to develop evidence-based policy thinking based on what works, alongside practical guidance for successful local policy implementation.

Our policy work builds on and further develops Socitm’s existing relationships with bodies like the LGACOSLAWLGASOLACECIPFAADASStechUKMHCLGthe Government Digital Servicethe Scottish Local Government Digital Officethe Scottish Governmentthe Welsh Government, the third, private, health and university sectors, and the media.

The policy role is central to Socitm’s work in representing and promoting the work of digital leaders and ICT professionals in the public sector and helps to inform Socitm’s research, events and services priorities.

Our policy activity is led by our Director of Policy and Research, supported by the President’s Team and Director of Leadership Development and Research, and is advised by the Socitm Local CIO Council as the members’ representative body.

Policy work illustration