New pathways to digital engagement

Greater collaboration between the emergency services and other public services that embeds a ‘digital DNA’ in their work – adopting a smarter more holistic vision of citizens and place – would mean communities are “motivated to come together with shared values and skills to drive a better quality of life for all”.

Aug 9, 2017

Greater collaboration between the emergency services and other public services that embeds a ‘digital DNA’ in their work – adopting a smarter more holistic vision of citizens and place – would mean communities are “motivated to come together with shared values and skills to drive a better quality of life for all”. Georgina Maratheftis, programme manager for local government at industry representative body techUK, says this would create new pathways to tackle cross-cutting challenges in a cost-effective and productive way. “There is clearly a need for local public services – such as police, ambulance, fire and rescue, hospitals and social services – to work in close partnership with each other and the communities they serve to protect the public, prevent crime, take care of the vulnerable and improve quality of life,” she said as part of techUK’s recent security and law enforcement campaign week. “City regions are faced with a range of challenges, from demographic to tackling and reducing the fear of crime. Set against a backdrop of rising citizen expectations and budget cuts, these challenges can no longer be faced alone. “Devolution, for example, if done right, presents great opportunities to integrate and collaborate across the place, transforming public service outcomes and creating places where people want to live, work, thrive and feel safe.” Ms Maratheftis said for devolution to be a success, public sector partners need to collaborate, but to do so they must be able to “confidently and securely share the data to deliver predictive, more personalised and effective public services with the users at the heart of them”. “Adopting a smarter way of working and changing the data culture requires high level buy-in,” she added. “The new mayors present the perfect figurehead to champion and drive new ways of doing things and make collaboration the norm. That is, if devolution is digital. “By digital devolution we mean a different approach along with the new powers of the mayor, to enable a strong digital infrastructure and culture across a place that will ultimately deliver improved services outcomes for all.” The Government’s Digital Strategy issued earlier this year, for example, emphasised the impact digital technology can have on the future of policing and the criminal justice system. And Michael Jensen, of data integration software specialist Informatica, says decision-makers in the police now “need to consider how digital transformation can be an effective enabler of change”. Also speaking as part of techUK’s campaign week, he said: “The public now expects multi-channel engagement, timely interactions and improved end-to-end experiences from all public services.” Mr Jensen said digital transformation could “radically improve the engagement process with the public”. “It could create new and exciting opportunities to alter the delivery of emergency frontline services, increase the citizen focus, build trust and enhance the perception of, and confidence in, public service providers,” he added. Ms Maratheftis said mayors now have the opportunity to put ‘digital’ at the heart of their plans and put in place the leadership required to deliver real change and better outcomes: “Digital is instinctively designed to assist collaboration and, by putting digital at the forefront of city region plans, mayors can re-shape and integrate services. “That is why techUK has produced Digital Devolution: A Guide for Mayors to help them engender change, [and] build capacity across the eco-system of the place.” Ms Maratheftis said mayors have a pivotal role in addressing any real or perceived concerns to data security and privacy. “Part of this will be undertaking discovery sessions with stakeholders from across public and private sector partners to understand what current mechanisms are in place and what needs to be done to create an environment that supports secure and effective data sharing,” she explained. “For data to be effectively shared it is essential that it is of the hi

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