It’s long overdue, but London is finally set to get its first Chief Digital Officer to oversee growth in the city’s tech sector and increase “digital inclusion” across the UK’s capital.
The creation of the role was part of the electoral manifesto of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who says:
London is a world-leading hub for digital technology, data science and urban innovation. These technologies have the potential to transform the way that Londoners and visitors experience our city. I want to take the digital transformation of our public services to the next level, so we can improve the ways in which we plan and deliver public services for Londoners.
Julian David, CEO of trade association techUK, welcomes the move:
This is something we called for within our London’s Digital Future: The Mayoral Tech Manifesto. By building on London’s reputation as a world-leading tech hub, this role can now provide a critical focal point in creating a world-leading smart city that works for all of London’s businesses and citizens. Done right, this appointment can send a beacon around the world that London is streets ahead when it comes to tech.
This will not be a straightforward role – London’s diverse tech sector combined with local government structures means that the CDO will have to show leadership across a complex range of stakeholders whilst also understanding where the latest tech solutions can make tangible differences to the life of the city. It is key that this role has capacity and resource to make sure the Mayor’s vision for London’s digital future is translated into delivery.
Certainly according to the job spec, the successful candidate, who’s in line for an annual salary of £106,952 plus benefits, will have a busy role:
As London’s CDO, working in the Mayor’s Office, you will convene GLA officials, the Smart London Board, local authorities and the technology sectors to encourage collaboration and adoption of common standards around data and service transformation, to drive the development of smart city technology, and to build London’s reputation as the city that the world looks to for leadership in urban innovation.
You will be someone who understands how technology can be used and developed to make government, public services and decision making better. You will have a strong track record in identifying and delivering innovative solutions to city challenges at a senior level, whether in the technology sector or in government.
You will be a powerful advocate for technology and have the communication and diplomatic skills to convene and influence a wide range of external stakeholders. You will be a team worker who leads by example and offers support to the GLA’s highly talented teams of officials on this agenda.
If that’s you, or you know someone who fits the gig, the closing date for applications is midnight on 23rd May. Any questions, Ben Johnson, Senior Advisor to the Mayor – Business and Digital Policy, is the person to talk to – Ben.Johnson@london.gov.uk.
London is home to around 40,000 digital tech businesses, with this number forecast to rise by another 12,500 businesses by 2025 according to Oxford Economics. It’s about time it had a CDO to help shape the city’s digital destiny. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the progress towards filling this vital appointment.
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