Theme 4: Collaboration and data

“Working together in partnership to create one shared purpose and one shared vision, we will work with the voluntary sector, public services, business community and community groups to deliver our outcomes” – Tony Newman, Leader of the Council, Corporate Plan 2018-22

We will use digital tools to collaborate with organisations across all sectors, make Croydon’s data open and share digital assets for the public good.

Where we want to be:

Our desired outcomes are:

  • Appropriate digital channels are in place to facilitate the council, other public services, business and the community and voluntary sector to share information and collaborate  effectively
  • There is a culture of collaboration and reuse of digital assets and data between all organisations delivering public good in Croydon, minimising duplication of effort and accelerating our collective capability to deliver better outcomes for our communities
  • All organisations in Croydon can contribute to and access a growing set of shared data stores and common platforms that they can make use of to create and enhance digital products and services
  • The council plays an active role in local and national digital communities of practice, sharing our experience and capabilities, and is a recognised leader in digital

Where we are now:

The council has existing partnerships and alliances with a number of organisations, most notably the One Croydon Alliance – a partnership of 6 bodies collaborating across organisational boundaries for better health and wellbeing outcomes – and we work closely with statutory agencies and the community and voluntary sector across a range of other deliverables outlined in our Corporate Plan. There is considerable potential to make better use of technology to facilitate information-sharing across these existing partnerships, and help us forge new ones.

An effective system-wide approach also relies on shared local data. A wide range of data about Croydon, and transparency information about council operations, is already publicly available via the Croydon Observatory, our corporate website, the London Data store and data.gov.uk. However, there is more to do to unlock more data, improve quality, make all our data easier to find and ensure it conforms to open standards. Of particular priority is the geographic data held by the council, which is currently split across disparate systems and needs work and clearer ownership to get it where it needs to be and make it available for reuse. However, we are in a strong position to radically improve how the council uses, combines and shares data from multiple sources, having invested in a fit-for-purpose cloud business intelligence platform. For example, we have recently begun scoping work on data intelligence to help us take targeted action across the system to prevent violent crime.

As the council reviews and refreshes its core digital platforms and rationalises its portfolio of back office software, there is an opportunity to create common platforms and codebases that are shared not only within the council, but with partners across the system as “public good” civic assets. A small example of such a platform exists already in the form of Croydon Digital – a shared publishing platform for the tech and digital community. The council has a number of open source capabilities that can be enabled for reuse across the local system, and we expect that other organisations are similarly creating digital assets with untapped potential for reuse. We want to explore the potential to share these actively across the local system.

Similarly, it is imperative that we reuse and share ideas, technology and approaches across both central and local government. As one of London’s largest boroughs, Croydon has a major role to play in contributing to joined-up solutions for the whole city, and co-delivering the Smarter London Together plan. Our status as one of the founding members of the new London Office for Technology and Innovation stands us in good stead to collaborate closely with other London boroughs.

Nationally, local authorities have similar problems to solve and increasingly limited resources, and so wherever possible we will both contribute to and make use of common solutions, shared platforms and lessons learned with all our local government peers. We have committed to do so by signing the Local Digital Declaration, and are active participants in networks of our digital peers such as LocalGovDigital.

What we will do:

To move forward in this area, we will:

  • Publish data openly wherever possible, in reusable formats, and work with partners to identify the most appropriate channels to use to do this
  • Put in place the necessary technology and governance to allow for easy appropriate data sharing across the borough
  • Develop and steward a digital platform of reusable technology components, to be shared with partners within the borough
  • Where we have a need to acquire a new technology solution, we will seek to reuse existing shared capabilities, contributing back any improvements we make
  • Work closely with existing collaborative partnerships, such as the One Croydon Alliance, to ensure user-centred digital products and services are delivered across organisational boundaries
  • Combine a growing capability in data science and business intelligence with experiments and innovations in emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable the council to predict demand and prevent it occurring
  • Improve the council’s strategic offer and delivery of geographic data for internal and external use, starting with establishing clear ownership, roles and responsibilities across our currently disparate systems and data sources
  • Through our status as signatories to the Local Digital Declaration, we will work to be become an exemplar digital council and acknowledged as a leader in the sector in this area of work, liaising closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
  • Be deeply involved in digital networks within our sector and beyond, including being founding and active members of the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI), and contributors to LocalGovDigital
  • Deliver an ongoing portfolio of improvements to existing, and the creation of new, data and collaboration initiatives, prioritised on our public roadmap