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New talent and collaboration needed to drive digital agenda

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In an interview published in ITPRO this week, Ed Garcez, Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO) of Camden, Haringey and Islington Councils – and friend of the Executive Briefing Programme – talked about shared learning, bringing new talent to the public sector and using data better.

As usual, Garcez is absolutely on the money with his views and hit on a number of hot topics for local government officers.

I have been talking to HR, organisational development and IT/digital directors in local government recently about nurturing talent and building the right skill set for digital change, as part of the Executive Briefing Programme’s research with the PPMA.

Many of our interviewees talk about the massive value they have found working with apprentices and graduates, particularly in terms of being people who ‘get’ digital… and I’m not talking about using software but the bigger picture of how technology can be used to support new business models, new ways of working and improve the customer experience. They are ‘digital natives’, but perhaps more importantly, this group have the right attitude – they are willing to learn and adapt. And attitude is a big part of how necessary skills can be developed.

From talking to Garcez about shared services I know he is passionate about shared learning and highlights this as the biggest benefit of sharing. Describing it as the pervasive thing that really exists and lasts. Garcez certainly has a wealth of experience to draw from, and I do not think that he is alone in this view.

It’s interesting that through the core themes covered by the Executive Briefing Programme in the last year – shared services, health and social care integration and now digital skills – the discussion keeps returning to collaboration. It is arguable that local government can only make significant progress with the digital agenda by pooling resources, learning and expertise.

Not that shared services are by any means easy to make work. Shared services is a topic that we have explored through some of our roundtable meetings, and we will be returning to again soon, with a free assessment tool we are developing with contributors, including Garcez. Watch this space!

About Natasha Gwilliam

Natasha runs Eduserv's Local Government Executive Briefing programme. Working closely with Jos Creese, Principal Analyst, and the steering group of senior local government leaders, she aims to increase sector-wide understanding of the benefits of cloud computing and broader digital initiatives. This includes working on research reports, conducting interviews, putting together events and engaging with industry figures at events and through social media. Before Eduserv, she spent 14 years working for international publishing and events businesses. First in the financial sector with 9 years at Euromoney, including a two year secondment in Hong Kong, and more recently 5 years in digital, delivering conference agendas on topics such as app development, enterprise mobility, cloud, and digital marketing.