Camden Council has been recognised for leading the way in digital innovation and was awarded with the prestigious ‘UK Digital City’ prize at the annual Municipal Journal Awards, beating competition from major cities in the UK.
Camden was recognised for using technology to improve services, cut costs and ensure no one is left behind during the ‘digital revolution.’ It was seen as unique by the range of services offered and the innovative way in which they were used and developed. Investing in technology to modernise and safeguard public services against the threat of privatisation and Tory Government cuts is a priority for the Camden Labour administration.
Here are some of the measures Camden is pioneering:
- Public Wifi -Camden led a consortia of 16 London local authorities to procure a wireless concession contract that is forecast to generate over £3m of investment back into Camden over the next decade. There are now over 100 Wi-Fi hotspots in high streets across the borough.
- Code Clubs in schools -Working in partnership with Google and UCL, around 75% of primary schools are either with an active club or seeking volunteer partners. All our secondary schools have afterschool computing opportunities and we are building a ‘Maker Community’ on Saturdays at the City Learning Centre in Somers Town to provide a space to put their learning into practice.
- Libraries -Camden has 200 public computers for use in our libraries and community facilities, we recycle council computers into the community.
- Local services -Work with the Post Office and linked up our IT systems so our residents and businesses could continue to pay for council services in local post offices. This has saved the ratepayers £1.1m per annum and helped keep local sub-post offices open.
- Energy saving -We are installing SMART energy meters across Camden homes to tackle inefficient energy usage by enabling residents to monitor their own usage we were able to reduce energy consumption and ultimately save our residents money.
- Working with the NHS -Camden was one of the first authorities in the country to integrate the NHS number into council social care systems and sharing data with the local Clinical Commissioning Group, making it easier to work with GPs and the NHS to save money.
- Cutting fraud -Working with IBM we’ve linked 1 million records across different council systems to providing the big picture of how our people use of services. Starting off as an anti-fraud measure it’s now used by safeguarding to protect vulnerable children.
- Better services -Camden has pioneered the development of an open systems digital platform that has enabled us to integrate and deliver council services through the Camden Account for Council Tax, Housing Benefit, Housing Repairs, Leaseholder services, tenant information, and parking permits. Within 6 months the number of active users has risen from a few thousand to over 50,000 and will deliver over £4m of savings.
- Better budgeting – analytical technology is being deployed to over 70 services spanning front line services as safeguarding, housing and regulatory services. Our use of ‘Big Data’ is enabling Camden to automate information on services, provide insights for improved budgeting so we can invest in what makes the most difference. This will soon be open to the public to see.
Councillor Theo Blackwell, Cabinet member for Finance and Technology Policy said:
“Technology can help us beat the worst of the Tory cuts, ensure that the digital divide is narrowed in Camden and promote jobs and growth. We are just starting on this journey, and much more needs to be done. In years to come we want to residents to be able to see things running in realtime, like street cleaning or recycling, providing a much more immediate and two-way relationship with public services.”