The impact of Covid-19 on organisations and local, national and regional economies has been substantial, especially in the way that it has forced local authorities to change the way they work to address the needs of their communities.
Time and again during the crisis local communities have been called upon to fill the breech. Be it developing workable local test and trace systems or undertaking data analysis to fill the gaps in knowledge about specific localities, local public service leaders have been asked to re-think the “art of the possible” in relation to whether and how they should use technology and data.
In the wake of these unprecedented challenges, local authorities are leading place-based, strategic recovery. This policy briefing draws on the emerging picture from over 200 local authority recovery and resilience strategies to identify four common “pillars” for place-based recovery.
Taking these pillars as a starting point, the briefing takes readers through the layers of the Socitm Recovery and Resilience model, designed to support place-based recovery and resilience and the wider drive to build sustainable places in which people and communities can thrive.
Purpose and audience for this policy briefing
Socitm produces policy briefings on behalf of those working in the public sector, in particular local government. This briefing will be of interest to senior policy-makers, decision-makers and managers involved in the delivery of local public services.
Unpacking the Socitm recovery and resilience model
The Recovery and Resilience model (expanded below in Figure 1) has been developed from the wide-ranging work that Socitm and its partners have been undertaking to support local public services and the communities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Working closely with Major Cities of Europe (MCE) and the Linked Organisation of Local Authority ICT Societies (LOLA), Socitm’s infographic, Planting the flag – a new local normal, illustrated the wider societal and ethical focus of applying emerging technologies and data in the wake of Covid-19. Building on this, our Covid-19 digital and ICT impact survey and follow-up regional roundtables have generated detailed insights into the impact and response of local government organisations during the pandemic.
More widely, work on our key policy themes, ethical practice, leadership development, emerging digital trends and the application of doughnut economics in inspiring healthy and well communities is shaping our understanding of ethical, digital place-making and how it can support the wider drive to post-Covid recovery and resilience.
Local authorities are leading place-based, post-Covid strategic recovery. Drawing on this work and the emerging picture from over 200 local authority recovery and resilience strategies, we have identified the following four common “pillars” (4Rs) that form a structural framework for place-based recovery:
- Reset – ethical principles, respecting social, economic and ecological foundations.
- Reform – public services by embracing innovation and modernisation.
- Renew – communities by collaborating across place and encouraging self-sufficiency.
- Resilient – to disruptive changes, to thrive and to achieve better, sustainable and inclusive outcomes for everyone.
The Recovery and Resilience model overlays these four pillars onto Socitm’s ethical, digital placemaking model, bounded in turn by our key policy themes and attributes of ethical practice. Taken together, these are the building blocks for healthy, connected, empowered and enabled places in which people and communities can thrive.
Reset, reform, renew, resilient: emerging local place-based recovery
Across the nations and regions of the UK, local authorities are developing place-based, post-Covid recovery strategies and plans that demonstrate aspects of the four “recovery pillars” – Reset, Reform, Renew, Resilient – that form the structural framework for place-based recovery.
Socitm’s Championing place-based recovery map (see Figure 2 below) highlights examples of how a range of combined authority, county, unitary and district councils are focusing on what works and how they are looking to develop and apply such approaches across the diverse range of places and communities they serve.
Policy and ethical practice
Key policy themes
Socitm’s policy work is broken down into five key policy themes. These are critical to delivering better outcomes for residents and businesses in the places they live and work and can help inform post-Covid recovery strategy and planning.
For each of the following themes, Socitm works collaboratively with members, our Local CIO Council, and with our strategic and international partners. We develop evidence-based policy thinking based on best practice. We also create practical guidance for successful local policy implementation.
- Ethical use of emerging technologies and data: How do we understand and promote the ethical use of emerging technologies? This includes the data they generate and store and the public service designs, processes and interactions they enable. It also applies to the outcomes that they generate. All this while ensuring public benefit and minimising unintended consequences. What do we mean by ethics and how do we apply them?
- Modernising ICT service delivery: 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 and making sure that we meet the changing expectations of service users. How do we make this happen seamlessly and effectively?
- Healthy and well communities: How do we enable the ‘left shift’ of intervention in people’s health and wellbeing? This process needs to apply at every level of the system from the expensive acute end of the system to an earlier point at the community as well as at the locality end and with citizens themselves. What pathway do we best follow to facilitate the ‘left shift’ holistically?
- Service design and transformation: How do we support public sector leaders in successfully transforming organisations and services using digital technologies and data in a dynamic and continuously evolving environment? This requires digitally aware leadership within our organisations and across public sector services, partners, businesses and communities, embracing new and totally different ways of collaborating and working for the benefit of our citizens. How do we cultivate and develop this?
- Leadership, diversity and skills: The information age will enable the public sector to operate more efficiently, lower costs, improve services, and achieve better outcomes. In order to realise this, leaders will need to acquire digital acumen, redesign processes, digitally upskill the workforce, develop diversity, and attract and retain talent. How do we achieve this when resources are scarce, and the labour market is unstable?
- Our key policy themes
- Mudlarking in the social ecology of cities – breaking the public policy impasse. Socitm’s Global Peter Drucker Forum white paper which touches on how on places by being transparent about people and the human condition – the social ecology that binds them together in their place – and breaking through previous decades of public policy impasse in addressing their wellbeing.
Understanding how the following core values or attributes can help to make up an ethical, digital approach is key to the work of informing and shaping organisation’s recovery and resilience strategy, culture and operational implementation of emerging technology and data.
Each attribute focuses on a number of key themes. Their relevance to a given outcome can be tested by applying the following set of scrutiny considerations. These can reveal the extent to which ethical practice has become successfully embedded in how organisations develop and use technology and whether ethical practice has become part of their operational, intellectual and systematic DNA.
In this way, taking the five core values or attributes of Beneficence, Non-Maleficence, Autonomy, Justice and Explicability in turn it is possible to scope out the basis of digital ethical practice framework for working with Smart Information Systems as follows:
Beneficence = Do good: Benefits of work should outweigh potential risks. Digital, data and technology that interact with people’s wellbeing, finances, relationships and health particularly require robust ethical principles.
Key themes: Human flourishing, well-being, dignity, common good, and sustainability
- Individual, societal, and environmental wellbeing: Sustainable and environmentally friendly AI and big data systems, individual wellbeing, social relationships and social cohesion, and democracy and strong institutions
- Because AI and big data systems can have huge effects for individuals, society, and the environment, systems should be trialed, tested, and anomaly-detected to ensure the reduction, elimination, and reversal of harm caused to individual, societal and environmental well-being
Non-maleficence = Avoid harm: Risks and harms need to be considered holistically, rather than just for the individual or organisation. Privacy and security risks require social and organisational design, not just technological.
Key themes: Safety, reliability, robustness, data provenance, privacy, and cybersecurity.
- Technical robustness, safety in support of Privacy and Data Governance: Including resilience to attack and security, fall-back plan and general safety, accuracy, reliability and reproducibility. Together with respect for privacy, quality and integrity of data, access to data, data rights and ownership.
- Because we value humans, human life, and human resources, it is important that the system and its use is safe (often defined as an absence of risk) and secure (often defined as a protection against harm, i.e., something which achieves safety). Under this attribute we should also include the quality of system decisions in terms of their accuracy, reliability, and precision.
- In particular, as systems use data that is private or sensitive, it is important to make sure that the system does not violate or infringe upon the right to privacy, and that private and sensitive data (such as linked to an individual’s ability to have a private life), is well-protected. This requires due diligence over the quality and integrity of data (i.e., whether the data is representative of reality), access to data, and the wider set of data rights such as ownership.
Autonomy = Preserve human agency: To make choices, people need to have sufficient knowledge and understanding. It is important to involve stakeholders and interest groups in ethical risk assessment and design.
Key themes: Consent, choice, enhancing human agency and self-determination
- Because we value the ability for humans to be autonomous and self-governing (positive liberty), humans’ freedom from external restrictions (negative liberties, such as freedom of movement or freedom of association).
- Underpinning this is the fact that each individual has an inherent worth and we should not undermine respect for human life (human dignity), we need to ensure that AI and big data systems do not negatively affect human agency, liberty, and dignity.
Justice = Be just and fair: Specific issues include algorithmic bias and equitable treatment. Consider whether a technology could produce or magnify unequal outcomes, and if so how to mitigate this.
Key themes: Combating algorithmic bias, equitable treatment, consistency, shared benefits, shared prosperity, fair decision outcomes
- Diversity, non-discrimination, and fairness: Avoidance and reduction of bias, ensuring fairness and avoidance of discrimination, and inclusive stakeholder engagement
- Because bias can be found at all levels of the AI and data analytics systems (datasets, algorithms, or users’ interpretation), it is vital that this is identified and removed. Systems should be deployed and used with an inclusionary, fair, and non-discriminatory agenda. Requiring the developers to include people from diverse backgrounds (e.g., different ethnicities, genders, disabilities, ideologies, and belief systems), stakeholder engagement, and diversity analysis reports and product testing, are ways to include diverse views in these systems.
Explicability = Understandable and transparent: Be ready to explain a system’s working as well as its outputs. Make all stages of the implementation process open to public and community scrutiny.
Key themes: Intelligibility, transparency, trustworthiness and accountability
- Transparency: Including traceability, explainability and communication – as Smart Information Systems can be involved in high-stakes decision-making, it is important to understand how the system achieves its decisions. Transparency, and concepts such as explainability, explicability, and traceability relate to the importance of having (or being able to gain) information about a system (transparency), and being able to understand or explain a system and why it behaves as it does (explainability).
- Accountability: Auditability, minimisation and reporting of negative impact, internal and external governance frameworks, redress, and human oversight. Given that Smart Information Systems act like agents in the world, it is important that someone is accountable for the systems’ actions. Furthermore, an individual must be able to receive adequate compensation in the case of harm from a system (redress). We must be able to evaluate the system, especially in the situation of a bad outcome (audibility). There must also be processes in place for minimisation and reporting of negative impacts, with internal and external governance frameworks (e.g., whistleblowing), and human oversight.
Digital ethics: The ethical use of emerging technologies and data
This Socitm policy briefing offers insights into understanding the digital ethics agenda, principles, standards, tools and guidance. All of which inform the five-core attributes of ethical practice, which the guide outlines in more detail.
Place-based ethical change
The last eighteen months have been ones of unprecedented challenge, discovery and innovation as local public sector organisations have sought to build resilience in the face of Covid-19, economic downturn, climate change and fluctuating levels of public trust.
According to a McKinsey global survey of executives, companies have accelerated the digitisation of customer and supply-chain interactions and internal operations by three to four years. And the share of digitally-enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by a shocking seven years.
The challenge now is for local authorities and their partners to successfully harness these opportunities to support post-Covid recovery and help build resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive.
With this in mind, Socitm’s key policy themes, set within an ethical, digital place-making model, are standing organisations in good stead. The components of this model are based on the ‘doughnut economics’ framework and circular economy models, that have assumed even greater relevance in preparation for the societal and environmental challenges that lie ahead in 2021 and beyond.
Understanding Doughnut Economics: resilient and sustainable ethical change
Doughnut Economics proposes an economic mindset that is fit for 21st century context and challenges. Drawing on insights from diverse schools of economic thought – including ecological, feminist, institutional, behavioural and complexity economics – it sets out seven ways to think like a 21st century economist in order to bring the world’s economies into the safe and just space for humanity.
The starting point of Doughnut Economics is to change the goal from endless GDP growth to thriving in the doughnut. It repositions economic analysis within the ‘big picture’, recognising that the economy is embedded within, and dependent upon, society and the living world.
Doughnut Economics recognises that human behaviour can be nurtured to be cooperative and caring, just as it can be competitive and individualistic. It also recognises that economies, societies, and the rest of the living world, are complex, interdependent systems that are best understood through the lens of systems thinking. And it calls for turning today’s degenerative economies into regenerative ones, and divisive economies into far more distributive ones.
Lastly, the Doughnut Economics model (see Figure 3 below) recognises that growth is a healthy phase of life but nothing grows forever and things that succeed do so by growing until it is time to grow up and thrive instead.
What is the Doughnut?
Think of it as a compass for human prosperity in the 21st century, with the aim of meeting the needs of all people within the means of the living planet.
The Doughnut consists of two concentric rings: a social foundation, to ensure that no one is left falling short on life’s essentials, and an ecological ceiling, to ensure that humanity does not collectively overshoot the planetary boundaries that protect Earth’s life-supporting systems. Between these two sets of boundaries lies a doughnut-shaped space that is both ecologically safe and socially just: a space in which humanity can thrive.
The Doughnut is the core concept at the heart of Doughnut Economics.
Doughnut Economics: principles into practice
With regard to place-based ethical use of emerging technologies and data, this requires localities to start to identify what is unique and different about an ethical, locally-based approach to using smart information systems. In order to helps us to design better services, leveraging benefits and better outcomes.
Doughnut Economics offers such an approach as typified by Amsterdam’s environmental and societal wellbeing City Doughnut initiative (that in partnership with the Doughnut Economics Action Lab). Its starting point is the following four key outcomes that determine what it would mean for the people of this city/community to thrive.
- Healthy – with nutritious food, clean water, good health, and decent housing
- Connected – by internet connectivity, urban/rural mobility, a sense of community, and access to culture
- Empowered – with political voice, social equity, equality in diversity (including gender and racial equality), and peace and justice.
- Enabled – with sustainable economies, good education, decent work, sufficient income, and access to affordable energy.
More widely, the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) has developed City Portraits guide that sets out the DEAL Portrait methodology to all who are interested in downscaling the Doughnut to their city or place. Alongside this, the DEAL Team have built a supporting database of project materials covering the following themes:
- Cities and places: Downscaling the Doughnut to reimagine and remake the places where we live.
- Government and policy: Engaging with policymakers to bring about systemic social and economic transformation.
- Education and research: Exploring Doughnut Economics in the classroom and deepening it through academia.
- Business and enterprise: Transforming business so that it serves to bring humanity into the Doughnut.
- Communities and art: Co-creating playfully serious ways of turning Doughnut Economics into transformative action.
Championing resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive
Taking the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) City Portraits Local-Social model as a guide Socitm is charting how local authorities and their partners are championing resilient place-based recovery and resilience through addressing the following aspects of ethical change that support healthy and well communities (see Figure 4 below) and help build resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive.
The model’s four key outcomes – Healthy, Connected, Empowered and Enabled – are underpinned by a set of specific areas of focus that can help build resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive.
Each individual area of focus together with the accompanying links from cross section of emerging local recovery and resilience plans show how taken together this approach actively supports the Reset, Reform, Renew and Resilient ethos of place-based recovery and is allowing local leaders, policy-makers and practitioners to:
- Establish how technology and ICT is enabling delivery of the new normal in local government services.
- Form a baseline of the changes that have taken place and the transition required to sustain those that have proven beneficial.
- Identify possible long-term opportunities to help and support local government bodies as they ‘reset’ their business models and services to the new normal.
Factors supporting place-based ethical change
Healthy… with nutritious food, clean water, good health, and decent housing
Food: Everyone can reliably afford and access suitable food to meet their needs for energy, nutrition, and social & cultural connection, with dignity and without resort to emergency food aid.
- Bath & North East Somerset – Food poverty action plan 2021
- Cambridge – Anti-poverty strategy
- Cardiff – Good Food strategy 2021-2024
- Glasgow – Food plan public consultation October-December 2020
- Greater Manchester – Right to Food campaign
- Islington – Food poverty action plan 2019-2022
Water: Public water is accessible, attractive, clean and safe for all users. Wider community water resources are managed so that they are environmentally sustainable now and, in the future.
- Eastleigh – Local plan 2016-2036 – water efficiency
- Lancashire – Landscape strategy
- North Ayrshire – Water quality and pollution
- Somerset – Flood and water management
- Windsor & Maidenhead – Energy and water strategy 2019-2023
- Yorkshire – Post-Covid economic recovery policy briefing
Health: All people have an equal chance of living a healthy life, regardless of socioeconomic status, or back ground. Communities should have the necessary wellbeing support arrangements, especially in areas with limited health care facilities.
- Bristol – Health and wellbeing strategy
- Haringey – Health and wellbeing strategy
- Manchester – Locality Plan 2016-2021
- Sunderland – Health inequalities strategy
- West Midlands – Mental health action plan
- Yorkshire and Humber – Levelling Up
Housing: There is sufficient availability of decent, affordable, safe, sustainable and resilient housing that support individuals, families and enables neighbourhoods and communities to flourish.
- Birmingham – 10 year housing plan
- Cardiff – Housing strategy 2016-2021
- Glasgow – Strategic housing investment plan
- Greater Manchester – Housing strategy 2019-2024
- London – Housing delivery recovery plan 2020
- West Suffolk – Housing delivery action plan 2020
Connected… by internet connectivity, urban/rural mobility, a sense of community, and access to culture
Connectivity: Digital places and internet connectivity are is designed in collaboration with citizens, and many other stakeholders. Public agencies interaction with citizens is accessible, understandable and inclusive.
- Cornwall and Isles of Scilly – Digital inclusion strategy
- Coventry – Digital strategy
- Cumbria – Digital infrastructure strategy 2020-2025
- Norfolk – Digital connectivity
- Sheffield – Digital connectivity strategy
- Wiltshire – Digital strategy
Community: All members of the community should have access to networks, technologies and wider resources that promote the pursuit of productive and creative interests’ that enable social engagement, local participation and help deliver positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes.
- Burnley – Covid-19 community recovery plan
- Doncaster – Community engagement framework
- Falkirk – Strategy for community engagement 2019-2024
- Plymouth – Covid-19 economic recovery plan
- Rochdale – Relationship manifesto
- Tower Hamlets – Community engagement strategy 2018-2021
Mobility: Places are accessible to everyone with safe and sustainable public transport networks underpinned by inclusive and community focussed wider transport and communications infrastructures.
- Aberdeen – Local transport strategy
- Brent – Decision making report template 2013
- Edinburgh – Mobility plan 2021-2030
- Essex – Covid-19 recovery transport plan
- Greater Manchester – Five year transport delivery plan
- Leicester – Covid-19 transport recovery plan 2020
Culture: All citizens and visitors are provided with a high-quality, innovative and diverse cultural offerings that help stimulates local economies and leads to increased community-based innovation, cultural diversity, and civic engagement.
- Belfast – Reopening after Covid-19
- Blackpool – Digital vision
- Brighton & Hove – Culture website supports city’s arts recovery
- Greater Manchester – Tourism, hospitality and leisure support and recovery plan
- Torbay – Torquay town investment plan 2020
- York – Tourism recovery marketing strategy 2020
Empowered… with political voice, social equity, equality in diversity (including gender and racial equality), and peace and justice
Political voice: Ensure people have voice in, and influence over, decisions that affect their lives. People and communities have an increased say, involvement and role in deciding what happens and how it gets implemented.
- Cambridge – Citizen’s assembly
- Cardiff – Have your say
- Dudley – People’s panel
- Mid Lothian – Participatory budgeting
- Newham – Democracy commission report
- Tees Valley & County Durham – Climate and fairness panel
Social equity: people enjoy greater independence and experience equality of opportunity through their right to fair, just, and equitable treatment by public policies and services.
- Cambridge – Anti-poverty strategy
- East Devon – Anti-poverty strategy
- Leeds – Doughnut-shaped recovery
- Newham – Community wealth building
- North Ayrshire – Community wealth building
- Preston – Community wealth building
Equality in diversity: People live in equal, cohesive and inclusive places where the needs, circumstances, responsibilities and goals of individuals and groups are recognised and valued.
- Belfast – Equality and diversity
- Bristol – Equality and diversity
- Derbyshire – Equality and diversity
- Greater Manchester – Independent Inequalities Commission
- Lancashire – Equality, diversity and community cohesion
- London Councils – Social integration
Peace and justice: Supporting peaceful, inclusive and sustainable communities that provide access to justice for all, and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
- Brighton & Hove – Equality and inclusion
- Cardiff – Equality and inclusion strategy
- Liverpool – Fairness and social justice advisory board
- Luton – Social justice framework
- Monmouthshire – Strategy for social justice 2017-2022
- Wigan – The Deal 2030
Enabled… with sustainable economies, good education, decent work, sufficient income, and access to affordable energy
Sustainable economies: Place-based economic activities should be restorative and regenerative that so that they strengthen and sustain rather than break down social and environmental resources.
- Birmingham – Covid-19 economic recovery strategy
- Bradford – Economic recovery plan 2021
- Bristol – Climate strategy
- East Dumbarton – Economic recovery plan
- Glasgow – Circular economy route map
- Liverpool City Region – Economic recovery plan
Education: Every child receives a good education in a high-quality school environment. Educational institutions should ensure that students have the digital skills to ﬁll the jobs of today and tomorrow, and to reap the potential rewards of lifelong digital learning.
- Cambridgeshire – cambslearntogether.co.uk
- Carmarthenshire – Digital schools strategy 2018-2021
- Cumbria – Learning Improvement Service
- Glasgow – Recovery, Resilience and Reconnection 2020
- London Grid for Learning
- Norfolk – Every Child Online campaign
Jobs and incomes: a place where every resident has access to skills development and employment opportunities that provides decent work and adequate income for all.
- Barking & Dagenham – A summary of our plans for jobs
- Brighton & Hove – Employment and skills recovery plan 2021-2023
- Haringey – Employment and skills recovery action plan 2020
- Norfolk & Suffolk – Covid-19 economic recovery
- Staffordshire – Five year strategy
Energy security: Champion the reduction of energy consumption to cut carbon emissions and improve wider energy security, exploring suitable opportunities for local energy generation and conservation of resources.
- Bristol – City Leap
- Cheshire West & Chester – The climate emergency
- Islington – Vision 2030: Building a net zero carbon Islington by 2030
- Liverpool City Region – Sustainable energy action plan
- South Cambridgeshire – Zero carbon strategy
- Torbay – Carbon neutral Torbay: Initial action plan
Socitm research and resources
Local authority response to Covid-19 – Impact Survey
The Covid-19 Digital & ICT Impact Survey, produced in collaboration between Socitm and Socitm Advisory, and supported by LOLA and MCE, focuses on the impact of the lockdown on local authorities with three key objectives:
- To establish what digital and ICT tools are in place to enable local services to continue to be delivered.
- To identify what is required to sustain the changes that have proven beneficial.
- To understand the long-term help and support local government bodies need to ‘reset’ their business models and services as they transition to a new normal.
- To create the evidence, base to underpin our Planting the Flag prospectus for post-Covid-19 renewal.
The survey focussed on how local authorities responded to issues such as Leadership and Skills, Remote Delivery versus Remote Working (Data), Health and Wellbeing, Digital by Necessity, and Estates Rationalisation.
Open to all local authorities from 9 May to 19 June 2020, collected more than 2,500 individual responses from approximately 70 organisations across the UK. We received responses from various departments, roles and seniority levels to produce a comprehensive insight into the impact on local authorities. We also gained approximately 100 responses from governmental organisations outside the UK, including from New Zealand, Australia, Germany and Ireland, to compare the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown from an international perspective.
Read the Covid-19 Impact Survey report
Planting the flag – a new local normal
Emerging from the crisis is a new sense of purpose, a revived community spirit, a digital culture amongst both organisations and citizens, an increased cadence of decision-making and rapid realisation of outcomes that hitherto had proved elusive. ‘Reset, Reform and Renew’ are starting to enter the conversation, as opposed to backtracking to how things were. How can local government sustain the benefits from new ways of working and support its communities in the many diverse places up and down the country? And, how can they avoid the very real risk of being forced into serving Section 114 notices en masse?
Socitm’s ‘Planting the flag – a new local normal’ brings together the ideas and experience from members and partner associations (LOLA and MCE) around the world. It is work in progress but provides a good snapshot of our current thinking.
View the planting the flag infographic
Digital trends in local public services 2021
The policy briefing, produced in association with the LOLA and MCE, focusing on local public service and place-making outcomes describes what the digital future holds, following the rapid public sector response to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Supported with personal contributions from UK local authorities and others around the world, it provides a comprehensive look at the opportunities for the public sector. The briefing and accompanying infographic highlight the crucial role of local authorities continue to play in helping communities to reset, reform and renew themselves and to become more resilient to future shocks.
Read the digital trends 2021 policy briefing
View the digital trends 2021 infographic
Our digital jump into the future: 2021 LOLA online conference
This report of the 2021 LOLA Online conference outlines how local public service technology professionals around the word have been harnessing emerging technologies and digital applications to support people and communities in the face of Covid-19.
Drawing on a range of place-based case studies the report looks at issues as diverse as supporting local transport systems, online access to legal services, developing inter-agency data exchanges, and emerging thinking on ethical, sustainable and inclusive recovery post the Covid pandemic.
Read the 2021 LOLA online conference report
PAUSE – reflect – act
The PAUSE model encourages us to look at our personal ecosystem and identify small steps that will shift us from ‘passivity to activity’. The model suggests a number of reflective questions as to how we can all become active contributors to a more equal, diverse and inclusive team, organisation and community
View the PAUSE model infographic
Leadership and skills
Socitm Lead is a growing community committed to opening-up collaboration more broadly. We facilitate conversation and consultation, not just within organisations but between different local authorities and on the global stage. Socitm Lead helps attract, grow and promote innovative, bold and compassionate leadership within a framework that’s supportive, authentic and altruistic.
Continually expanding and forever evolving, the Lead community is in its relative infancy. However, it is already improving outcomes for service users and professionals. Being involved in our network at such a pivotal time makes you an important part of a movement towards leadership that is facilitative, flat and more diverse. It also makes you a key component of the development of both Lead and the public sector of tomorrow.
Learn more about Socitm Lead
Learn more about Socitm’s Leadership Academy
Socitm resource hub
The resource hub hosts a series of resources to support the sector’s response to the pandemic, and case studies of success stories from across the UK and abroad, together with wider policy and research briefs and thought leadership insights from Socitm’s academic and private sector partners.
It brings together a range of initiatives, resources and opportunities under one accessible and inclusive umbrella. We are creating a new paradigm of leadership at all levels and this vision extends well beyond those already in more senior positions in our sector. We understand that to continually feed the talent pipeline and affect organisational cultural change, we need to build confidence, develop resilience and inspire passion among those who may not have considered a career in the public sector previously.
Socitm research partnering with you going forward
Going forward, Socitm and its partners are working together to support wider place-based recovery and resilience through the following policy and research initiatives that will focus on helping local authorities and their partners build healthy and well communities and grow resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive. Here are just few of our current and planned offerings that can help with post-Covid recovery plans and activities.
Socitm is extending its range of leadership and management learning resources to support local leaders with their post-Covid recovery as follows:
Return to Work – ICT: jointly run by Socitm, the Local Government Association and the Government Equalities Office which provides opportunities for those who have been out of work for a period of time. The programme offers the unique support, investment and training in preparation for an effective return.
Mentoring: Using effective mentoring practices, we develop holistic, confident and empathetic leaders. Access a network of experienced mentors, who will challenge you to be your best self. Underpinning this we have launched two new courses to help managers and ICT staff post-Covid:
- How to manage and motivate a remote team, which discusses how fragmentation, isolation and exclusion can affect those working this way.
- How to be an effective coach, which covers the Japanese concept of ikigai, where someone is paid to do work that they love, that they are good at and that the world needs doing.
Ethical leadership and place-making
As we have seen from Socitm’s Planting the Flag and Digital Trends analysis, local public service leaders are increasingly called upon to make ethical decisions around the use and design of technologies and data.
In support of this, Socitm is developing a set of online policy briefings that will focus on the relationship between digital ethics, leadership and placemaking that will draw on wider ethical-based approaches that leaders, policy makers and ICT practitioners can use alongside Socitm’s digital ethics materials to support the ethical and secure use of emerging technologies and data.
A new online facility that offers tools and resources to support and strengthen your organisation’s vital work in accessibility, diversity and inclusion. In support of this we are developing a Digital Accessibility Maturity Assessment Tool (DAMA) that will help strengthen delivery of accessible and inclusive services across organisations.
Digital by Choice – “Rethinking Inclusive Digital Strategies”
In the wake of Covid-19, Socitm in partnership with Bradford University’s “Rethinking Inclusive Digital Strategies for Public Services” initiative is examining how the pandemic has impacted on local authorities’ responsibilities for the design and delivery of digitally-enabled services that promote inclusion and access to welfare among disadvantaged groups and communities.
The intention is to build on Socitm’s earlier ‘Digital by choice – Bridging the digital divide’ study and refresh its findings to focus on local authorities’ crucial role in empowering and enabling ‘grassroots-led’ digital participation and stimulating place-based partnerships with community stakeholders to address issues of exclusion, cohesion and wellbeing.
“Resilient People, Resilient Communities, Resilient Places”
As part of Socitm’s work of charting and championing ethical, sustainable and inclusive recovery post the Covid pandemic, we will be hosting a high-level consultation with key policy influencers at St George’s House, Windsor Castle, a centre established by the Duke of Edinburgh to nurture wisdom on contemporary issues, which can be put to use in the wider world.
The St George’s House consultation will provide Socitm policy and research and its strategic partners the opportunity to baseline research plans and link-up with wider public sector, industry and academic thinking on how best to build resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive.
The intention is to publish the follow-up consultation report in early 2022 that will inform the onward development of the Socitm Recovery and Resilience programme together with its ethical, digital placemaking capabilities and planned toolkit/playbook resources.
Share your recovery and resilience story with us. If you have been involved in working on the local post-Covid recovery and resilience agenda, Socitm would like to learn more about your experiences, views and insights as to what works and what needs to change so that together, we can help build resilient and sustainable places for people and communities to thrive. To offer your experiences and ideas, please contact Martin Ferguson or Nadira Hussain.