Next London Mayor should appoint digital chief, report says

The next Mayor of London should appoint a chief digital officer to enhance the city’s leadership in data and technology, according to a new report.

The Future of Smart, published by Greater London Authority, also said that the mayor should view city data as part of a platform where developers are encouraged to use technology to creatively improve and redefine the functions of government services.

The authors explained: “This will make it easier to harness the technological capabilities in London. If we do not, we will fall behind other world cities, devolution will be slowed, and potential cost savings for frontline services will not be found.”

The report looks at the Smart London Board’s progress in advising, developing and promoting the use of digital infrastructure and data in London since the Smart London Plan was published two years ago.

Professor David Gann, chair of the Smart London Board, said:

“The twin challenges of economic growth and a growing population are putting a strain on London’s housing, healthcare and transport infrastructure. The environment remains a challenge, particularly air quality. Technology is changing apace. London can stay ahead by expanding projects like its driverless vehicle programme. In these tough conditions, standing still is not an option.”

“We must invest more in London’s data infrastructure. Doing so will help the city be brilliantly placed to make the most of the Internet of Things. It must be better connected too. That means making super-fast broadband available to everyone in London and investing in digital skills.”

The report identifies three priorities for the next mayor:

  1. Engaging citizens — putting Londoners at the core, through wide, inclusive digital engagement, and improving digital skills for all.
  2. Enabling good growth — through resilient digital infrastructure, smart homes, making more data available, and investing in innovation.
  3. Working with business — breaking down boundaries, supporting common standards, producing smarter regulations, and scaling-up innovation.

“Together we must help the city to harness these opportunities and maintain London’s reputation as an engaged, growing, entrepreneurial, tech-savvy city,” Gann concluded.

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