Objectives and Proposals  

To promote, encourage and support collaborative working

Working Together

3.35 LondonConnects will engage with a wide range of public and private sector partners covering the London region.This will not always be easy and a major challenge in developing easy access to e-service will be to overcome fragmentation between and sometimes within,different organisations and sectors.

3.36 We believe London can develop effective joint working and to build on the wide range of joint e-Government initiatives which are already underway - many of them at local level.There is already a strong commitment to achieve this among the partners of LondonConnects. Current Status

3.37 London currently suffers from a lack of good,clear,well organised and accessible information about e-Government developments and initiatives across the capital.This is preventing organisations ’ learning from the experience of others and applying approaches which have been successful.Public awareness and knowledge of IT developments and of public service provision in London is generally uneven and there is widespread agreement that much more needs to be done to improve the information base.

3.38 LondonConnects will fill this gap by developing web based information services including linkages to organisations own public information,and by providing resources to identify approaches with wide applicability.Specific proposals are contained elsewhere in this document.

3.39 Most London Local Authorities are in the course of developing internal capacity around e-government.This has been promoted by the process of preparing IEG Statements.Some authorities are more advanced than others. Many suffer from internal fragmentation of effort and weaknesses in coordination but this is starting to be addressed.Most are starting to develop some key external linkages,particularly with the NHS,the voluntary sector and the police.This will be given further impetus by the development of Local Strategic Partnerships,which government is encouraging within Local Authority areas.

3.40 The other key elements of the public and voluntary sector such as the NHS,RSLs,Police etc.have their own ‘e-service ’ plans and are at varying stages of development.Each sector has a different set of local physical boundaries, and each has varying level of regional direction and co-ordination.Within these local organisations they tend to have local plans and flexibility.

3.41 In addition to the arrangements within and between individual organisations,sub-regional e-working is starting to operate at two main levels.

  • Specific projects which often involve partners in a number of sectors. eg ISBs,EU projects etc.These are often based on an area of London but some have partners from a number of areas.
  • Organised joint working over a sub regional area,across a number of sectors.Some of these arrangements are based on existing linkages eg joint work on regeneration.

The Way Forward

3.42 Currently most of the joint e-government projects tend to focus on delivering a single set of defined outcomes.LondonConnects will aim to provide resources to facilitate a more strategic approach to joint working.This will involve gaining agreement for longer-term e-service objectives and a programme of work to achieve them including a number of sub-projects.The approach will support the growing requirements for joint service planning in areas such as Health,Education and Housing plus the new local Community Plans;and will be used to achieve a wider sharing amongst organisations covering involvement, ownership and information.

3.43 Establishing networks to promote successful local initiatives is a key element of the overall objectives.Given the number of players in each locality it is impractical for such co-operation and planning to work on a London-wide basis,and a number of sub-regional groups are already beginning to operate, typically covering an area represented by five or six London Borough boundaries. LondonConnects will support and encourage the development of these groups, and their evolution,so that they become fully representative of all the public service agencies developing e-Government services in the sub-region.

Early benefits from this multi-agency working are already evident.As one example,work has started on a project to assist all London Local Authorities and sections of the NHS achieve joint working via secure IT linkages and arrangements for sharing information.

The initiative has been prepared by representatives from the NHS Executive in London,the Health Authorities and the NHS Information Authority together with representatives from a number of Local Authorities,SOCITM and the ADSS IT Group representing Social Services Departments,together with the London Health Observatory.

The plan is to hold Londonwide workshops for NHS and Local Authority colleagues on NHS connectivity and security and on information sharing arrangements and protocols.These workshops will draw on national best practice which will also be published for general guidance and information on the LondonConnects website.The main outcome from this work will be to prepare a bid for funding to achieve secure physical connectivity between all of the 33 London Local Authorities and NHS Net to facilitate effective joint working between Local Authorities and NHS partners right across London.

Plans to promote and develop successful inter-sector working need a programme of discussion and analysis covering a range of potential partners and options. Some of the issues that need to be covered are:

  • How well do we understand existing/required cross-sector flows/linkages?
  • Is there a need for research to increase our understanding and to help build increased partnership working?
  • Are there good examples of local cross-sector working that can be promoted elsewhere?
  • Do we know what specific cross-sector innovation projects are underway?

LondonConnects will thus promote a variety of approaches to joint working between partners including:

  • Local capacity building •Information sharing
  • Sharing good practice and joint purchasing arrangements
  • Planned inter sector working.
  • Use of pilot projects with results shared.
  • Co-ordinated work with the private sector,including infrastructure development.
  • Developing and promoting a common framework,policies and standards.
  • Lobbying for London,including marketing and awareness raising.
  • Developing and promoting key London-wide projects.
  • Providing a common link to national initiatives.

3.44 In terms of management arrangements,the LondonConnects Board will operate at the top level,providing overall direction,and ensuring the necessary linkages with the key players.It has representation from the GLA,the ALG,and the Government Office for London,and this is likely to be enhanced as the LondonConnects work programme is developed and implemented.

3.45 The Board is supported by a broadly-based Steering Group representing the LondonConnects partners at senior officer level.This group provides the main focus for progressing developments,particularly ensuring appropriate cross-sector working.Consideration is being given to establishing a further Advisory Group,with representation from the private sector. In order to further develop collaborative working LondonConnects will therefore:

  • •develop a programme,overseen by the LondonConnects Steering Group, based on opportunities for inter-sector partnership working around e- government.This will be further explored and defined,in a series of meetings with LondonConnects partner organisations during the period set aside for consultation on this draft strategy.These meetings will examine:
    • The benefits of the proposed London Public Services Network in supporting the necessary information flows between organisations
    • Shared approaches and standards for security and encryption
    • Mapping existing joint work ,and identifying new areas for collaborative working
    • shared approaches to common e-training needs
  • Review the existing strategic e-projects in London (including Pathfinders and ISB-funded work)to define the practical steps necessary to ensure their wider take-up in London,and to identify the tangible products that are capable of export to the wider London public sector
  • Review existing e-strategies of the LondonConnects partner organisations to assess the potential for further collaborative working,and thereby further central Government funding
  • Carry out a study into local community web-sites in London,and work with ‘Communities Online ’ to run a London--wide seminar to explore the potential for spreading best practice,and opening up funding opportunities to support local communities in their e-endeavours.
  • Support and promote the establishment of ‘shareware ’ clubs,,which will facilitate the bringing together of all those bodies and agencies with an interest in a single e-Government project (building on the approach developed by LB of Newham for its customer relationship system).
  • Support key inter-sector groups to co-ordinate and promote inter-working between sectors at both a London-wide and sub-regional level
  • develop a LondonConnects web-site over the next six months.Work is now underway to specify initial content,and it is intended that the site will be fully operational by 1 April 2002.It will initially contain:
    • A project register giving summary details and hyperlinks for all key strategic projects,including Pathfinders,Invest to Save,and other Government and EC funded initiatives;together with links to relevant research work or key policy issues.
    • A contacts register of all those engaged in London ’s e-Government,and hyperlinks to all useful web-sites,
    • Details of e-funding sources, both UK and EC based.
    • Access to the papers from the cross-sector/sub-regional groups that are considered in Section 4E of this document,and to the Business/IT strategies of LondonConnects partner organisations.
    • Discussion forums to enable the capture of a wide range of views on key e-policy components (e.g.Smart-cards,e-democracy,social inclusion)
    • An e-index, providing links to relevant web sites,including
      • Government legislation,policies,standards and infrastructure
      • Government ’s knowledge network and best practice
      • Appropriate surveys and research
      • National E-Government services
  • develop,with oversight from the LondonConnects Steering Group,an annual review of e-activity in London which will help inform future strategic direction;be available on the LondonConnects website;and provide the basis for an annual London e-Government Conference,which it is planned to hold in May/June of each year.