Conferences & Workshops  


Visions and Objectives workshop
Wednesday 11th July 2001

GLA South
81 Black Prince Road

Val Shawcross opened the workshop by introducing London Connects. She explained what she saw as the priorities of London Connects.

London Connects was established to:

  • Provide a facility for co-ordination
  • Promote best practice
  • Exploit Economies of Scale
  • Join-up services across London
  • Deliver London wide e-projects
  • Provide an "e-voice" for London
    • Used for lobbying
    • Championing e-services

After this brief introduction, Tony Riding (SOCITM Insight) gave a summary of what had been achieved in the previous workshops.

The participants were split into two groups to discuss the following:

  • Visions
  • Key themes
  • Issues

The groups reported back with the following:

  • The vision of 2005 was not that different to the present
  • Technologies must be available to all sections of the communities - for example, broadband Internet access is at present too expensive for all sections of the community.
  • Technologies must justify themselves - broadband promises faster access, but there are no real benefits when used with today's Internet applications
  • There would need to be a standard interface by which citizens would know that they are in "London Connects territory"
  • Once the main London Connects portal is up and running, neighborhood/community portals could be established. Eventually, cost permitting, neighborhood TV channels could be provided as a means of accessing information (via digital TV)
  • The "London Card" could play a vital role in the future
  • There would need to be a seamless link with Government sites
  • A balance would need to be striked between the needs of Londoners and tourists
  • Convergence of data would need to be implemented


The main themes discussed were:

Education/skills lacking to deliver Government's e-agenda

  • Training is needed
  • Issues of keeping staff once they have marketable skills
  • Empowering staff to deliver change
  • Teleworking would help towards the e-agenda but this is a HR issue that organisations must address

The environment needs to be influenced

  • At present, there is no real risk taking as seen in the private sector
  • Innovation needs to be encouraged at the same time as encouraging risk taking
  • For example, banks have managed to work together to develop Direct Debt. Boroughs could also work together to bring innovations to the public

Legislation needs to be assessed

  • Data protection law prevents agencies working together
  • Many "obstacles" exist in Statue Law that prevents data sharing across different agencies
  • In some cases, information can only be shared in paper form

Equality of access

  • There is an issue of websites for the partially blind, for ethnic minorities whose first language is not English and those who cannot speak/read English at all
  • Do the boroughs provide translated websites and if so how many languages do they provide for
  • Software exists for the blind (speech browsers) that will convert text to speech, but these only work with non-frame websites
  • There is then the issue of "do we provide a non-frame version along with a frame version of a site" - this would increase costs but enable minority sections of the community to access the 'net

Variety of content

  • Standard of content will be dependent on the organisation's culture
  • London Connects would aim to bring everything together under one common interface


The discussions uncovered the following:

  • Political commitment seems to be low
  • London Connects needs to be business/service driven
  • Funding issues need to be clarified
  • Website for different key players should be developed - a version for: Technical people, politicians, service managers etc
  • London Connects should provide links to Government agencies
  • Equality of access needs to be resolved - disabilities, languages etc
  • Security/confidentiality issues - London Connects should draw up a charter highlighting the security arrangements on the site
  • Sub-regional groups need to be developed quickly to start boroughs to help each other
  • Objectives need to be set and be achievable
  • London Connects should identify gaps in Pathfinder projects and attempt to fill them by informing boroughs

e-Strategy for London

Mike Barkway has the following view of this document:

The document will be made up of six sections:

1. Challenges

2. Visions

3. What needs to be in place

  • Culture
  • Technology
  • Finance
  • National policy
  • Legislation

4. Themes

5. Working together for London

  • Sub-regional groupings
  • Lead organisations

6. Programme for action

  • What London Connects does and will do in the future

Timetable of events

Draft e-Strategy for London August 2001
Final e-Strategy for London - which will include workprogramme for year 1 September 2001
Stakeholder engagement December 2001
Workprogramme for year 2 February 2002

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