ADD2310 Digital, Data and Technology Peer Challenge

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2310
Date signed: 
21 January 2019
Decision by: 
Emma Strain, Interim Executive Director of Communities & Intelligence

Executive summary

The purpose of the peer challenge is to consider the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) current approach to service design, data and innovation. In doing so, the peer challenge will consider issues such as leadership, skills, governance and capacity alongside the digital technology and assets available.

The scope of the challenge is specifically focused on the GLA’s technology, digital and data functions – and the extent to which they support the authority to operate effectively as a digital and data-driven organisation.

It is proposed that the GLA engages the Local Government Association (LGA) to conduct the peer challenge. The LGA’s peer challenge methodology is adaptable and has been applied successfully with a range of organisations and functions.

Decision

That both the Assistant Director of External Relations/Executive Director Communities and Intelligence and the Head of Technology approves:

1. Expenditure of up to £25,000, funded equally from External Relations, Communities and Intelligence and Technology budgets, to engage the Local Government Association to conduct a peer challenge of our digital, data and technology capability; and

2. A related exemption from the requirement of the GLA’s Contracts & Funding Code to procure services competitively and to commission the above Services from the Local Government Association.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

The Local Government Association’s (LGA) sector led improvement offer provides a range of tools and support to help councils further strengthen local accountability and explore how effectively they are delivering services. The peer challenge is part of the LGA’s improvement offer – it is a robust and effective improvement tool managed and delivered by the sector for the sector. Peers are at the heart of the peer challenge process. They help councils with their improvement and learning by providing a ‘practitioner perspective’ and ‘critical friend’ challenge. The LGA’s peer challenge methodology is adaptable and has been applied successfully with a range of public organisations and functions.

The GLA appointed a Chief Digital Officer in September 2017 to drive digital transformation across London through greater collaboration across public services. In June 2018, the Mayor of London published Smarter London Together a roadmap to transform London into the smartest city in the world, with a strong focus on service design, data and promoting innovation.

The GLA seeks to be a modern and data-driven organisation – the peer challenge is an opportunity to support the authority to fulfil this aim. The purpose of the peer challenge is to consider the GLA’s current approach to service design, data and innovation. In doing so, the peer challenge will consider issues such as leadership, skills, governance and capacity alongside the digital technology and assets available.

The GLA will procure services for the peer challenge from the Local Government Association. The GLA will liaise with TfL procurement as appropriate.

Desk based research was conducted to identify potential suppliers. The Local Government Association was identified as the only supplier of this unique service and, as such, a single source procurement is required. The Local Government Association’s peer challenge uniquely provides a ‘practitioner perspective’ and ‘critical friend’ challenge that specifically relates to local government. The methodology has been applied successfully with a range of public organisations and functions.

If the GLA were to procure an external consultancy to deliver a similar piece of work but it would not have the benefits of drawing on local government expertise and would be significantly more expensive than the option of using the LGA. This therefore is not a cost-effective option for the GLA.

The peer challenge has been scheduled for the November 2018 with the panel presenting their findings to November’s Digital Board. The scope of the challenge has previously been discussed at the GLA’s Digital Board.

It is estimated that the fee for the review will not exceed £25,000.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of the peer challenge is to consider the GLA’s current approach to service design, data and innovation. In doing so, the peer challenge will consider issues such as leadership, skills, governance and capacity alongside the digital technology and assets available.

The scope of the challenge is specifically focused on the GLA’s technology, digital and data functions – and the extent to which they support the authority to operate effectively as a digital and data-driven organisation. The GLA’s functional bodies; Transport for London, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime and London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority are not primarily in scope for this review, although we hope to use the findings to support future work in this area.

Lines of enquiry

The focus will be on digital service delivery, data and innovation to fulfil our digital vision, in particular:

Digital services

Whether our technology and digital services functions are flexible, responsive and scalable to support the delivery of policy.

How technology and digital services support collaborative working inside the organisation and, where appropriate, outside.

What would enable wider digital service delivery to more effectively meet the needs of Londoners outside of core Technology, Digital and Data functions e.g. within policy teams.

Data

How effectively we capture, analyse and share data (insight) to inform decision-making, service design and performance management

How we can ingest data sources from across London, aggregating, consolidating and make it available to the widest audience.

Innovation

How our data can be used to deliver direct benefits to Londoners e.g. through new services, apps, insight and publishing for re-use

How to enable digital innovation and experimentation within the GLA e.g. developing new ways of using existing resources and assets to solve problems and deliver benefits
Summary of the peer challenge approach and methodology

The peer challenge is made up of the following stages and activity:

Onsite at the GLA:

The peer team will spend 3 days onsite at the GLA. Peers will meet with a wide range of people as per the timetable. The process is a dynamic one and requires a high degree of flexibility throughout. Meetings are less about evidence gathering but more an opportunity to explore issues and ideas. They should stimulate discussion within the Authority about how it might accelerate the achievement of its ambitions.

The peer team will collate, analyse and triangulate the key messages from these meetings which will then be used to develop and deliver feedback to the Authority. The onsite phase will finish with an informal round-table meeting where key findings are discussed with senior people from the Authority. This will take place at November’s Digital Board meeting. It is expected that the finding will form the basis of an action plan to take forward.

Post-onsite

A draft feedback report will be prepared by the LGA peer challenge manager on behalf of the team. This is normally within 10 days of the onsite visit. Peers will also be asked to contribute to any signposting to practice and people that can support the key suggestions made by the peer team.

The peer challenge offer includes a follow up visit. The purpose of the visit is to help assess the impact of the peer challenge and the progress made against the areas for improvement and development. The GLA would choose the exact timing of the follow up visit (if required); these typically occur 12-24 months after the original peer challenge.

Equality comments

Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not.

The public-sector equality duty requires the identification and evaluation of the likely potential impacts, both positive and negative, of the decision on those with protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation) and set out how you are addressing the duties. This duty will be considered throughout the procurement process in line with standing GLA’s recruitment policies.

Other considerations

The GLA will prepare a position statement for the challenge panel, outlining relevant strategies, initiatives and programmes. This context will help to ensure an efficient use of time and effective outputs.

Financial comments

This decision seeks approval for expenditure of up to £25,000 to engage the Local Government Association to conduct a peer challenge of our digital, data and technology capability. The expenditure will be jointly funded from External Relations, Intelligence and Technology budgets and will be spent in 2018/19 financial year.

A single source procurement request has been completed as there are no known alternative providers. The Local Government Association’s peer challenge uniquely provides a ‘practitioner perspective’ and ‘critical friend’ challenge. The methodology has been applied successfully with a range of organisations and functions.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Single Source Justification completed

October 18

GLA position statement

October 18

Peer challenge takes place

November 18

Follow up session

November 19


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