smart boroughs
CREDIT: ID 86475094 © Everythingpossible |

Findings from London and Partners found that the capital’s tech firms raised a staggering £2.45 billion and accounted for almost 80% of all UK venture capital tech spending in 2017

But it’s not just about the city’s booming private tech sector, London itself is increasingly being run in a smarter, more connected and digitally-savvy way to better serve its citizens. Despite budget cuts and constant pressure to do more with less, boroughs across the city are realising the potential of harnessing technology to improve both resident and visitor experience.

Camden Council is one borough that has demonstrated how more data-driven plans do, in fact, work. Partnering with Qlik, the council has been able to transform public services with data-driven intelligence across all operations so that the lives of its 240,000 residents can be improved. Data even forms the basis of a bold vision the Council has – to make Camden a borough where everyone has a chance to succeed, where nobody gets left behind, and where everybody has a voice by 2025.

More data-driven decision making can help councils across the city drive efficiencies and create significant improvements for service experiences for end users. Here are some learnings for how other London Boroughs can follow Camden’s example:

  1. When used correctly effective data analysis can save millions – Since the transformation Camden Council has seen improved efficiencies and significant cost savings of up to £63M.
  2. It’s not just about cost savings, it’s also about improving services – The Council has achieved greater streamlining to improve experiences in areas such as parking and housing management, adult social care, benefit provision and council tax administration, which has a positive impact on everyday services for users. By slicing and comparing datasets across service areas, emerging patterns and problems are identified and addressed quickly. For instance, Camden is using dashboards within housing repairs services in order to manage operational processes better.
  3. The roll-out of a data-centric digital strategy can create significant cultural changes Data visibility and intelligence sharing have transformed the council from the traditional model comprising of a cluster of siloed departments to full integration across all areas of service provision. The improvements in operational efficiencies are significant, allowing staff to focus on processing end-user needs and providing them with solutions, rather than struggling to catch and process customer queries. As a result, Camden Council has seen a 45% saving in working hours in some areas (using open data sets to answer freedom of information requests for example).
  4. Data can be a powerful weapon for staff empowerment Data virtualisation in real time through bespoke apps offer finance managers, staff and even the public an unprecedented overview of how council services are being received and budgets spent. For instance, with just a glance a dashboard can provide an overview of the provision of adult social care in the Borough, including features such as the numbers of clients, the uptake on types of support, and budget allocation and spending. This level of visibility drives business decision making with the emphasis on the needs of the service user.

Towards a national approach

What started as a distant vision has turned into a reality. Camden Council felt sure that data analytics was the route to help dramatically enhance services. As a result, it is now working with other London boroughs to share data and insights and cooperate on service provision, through an Open Data Platform. Furthermore, by collaborating with the Smart London Board and initiatives such as the London Office of Technology and Innovation, Camden Council is also benefiting from data sharing and cooperation with SME circles, coders and researchers to develop applications and services, including bespoke planning alerts.

Looking to the future, the council is now taking a ‘building blocks’ approach to generating and applying even better-quality data. The ongoing success of data integration is demonstrated by the fact that the council no longer differentiates between its digital and operational strategies. Camden Council also believes that neighboring boroughs should become the template for a national approach to local authority operations and is one of ten local government organisations working towards a shared vision of what good digital processes and systems look like.

London is one of the most tech-advanced cities in the world and a hotbed for investment into the sector. But, more must be done to shout about how the city itself is increasingly being run with smarter, more efficient and more logical data-driven services. If all boroughs and councils across the city can follow the suit of Camden, this will ultimately improve the lives of all citizens and visitors to the capital.


Sean Price

EMEA Industry Solutions Director

Public Sector, Qlik

Sudip Trivedi

Head of Data Analytics & Connectivity, Business Partner

London Borough of Camden


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here