SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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Better Connected Live 2016 The re-invention of local public services

Local leaders responsible for delivering public services are being invited to re-imagine the possibilities from a devolved and digital perspective at a new, two-day event 24/25 May in Birmingham.

Better Connected Live 2016: the re-invention of local public services will bring together public service leaders at all levels and inspire them to seize the opportunities of digital and devolution to redesign services and support for local communities.

The event, which is designed for members of local authority senior teams, digital and transformation leads, CIOs, customer and service leads, as well as service, digital and customer managers responsible for delivery, features an inspiring and authoritative line up of speakers.

Mark Rogers is chief executive & director of economy at Birmingham City Council, and president of SOLACE; Martin Reeves is chief executive of Coventry City Council, and leads for SOLACE on digital; Helen Milner OBE is CEO of the Tinder Foundation, managers of UK Online Centres; Dylan Roberts is Chief Information Officer, Leeds City Council, Chair of the Local CIO Council and a Member of the NHS National Information Board; Gerry McGovern is a worldwide authority on achieving online through relentless customer focus. Speakers will focus on:

  • using data to properly understand local needs and resources
  • releasing community assets and co-creating services with communities
  • driving digital inclusion and releasing hidden potential
  • enabling and embedding community and individual self-management
  • standardising and sharing service infrastructure and delivery processes
  • using devolved powers to re-focus on place not providers
  • collaboration with health, housing and other local public and voluntary services

Platform sessions will describe how committed, ‘culturally-digital’ councils can change what and how they deliver, through radically different approaches to local management and leadership.

Better Connected Live draws on research into digital councils by the Better Connected programme as well as the deliberations of the Local CIO Council. In addition to the headline sessions on May 24, a series of other learning events, demonstrations, awards and activities will populate the two days.

There will be a series of four half-day events for service managers, focussed on digital delivery of frontline services, one in each of four key areas:

Waste and recycling: in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Waste Management

Planning: in partnership with the Planning Portal

Adult social care: in partnership with ADASS Informatics Network

Libraries: in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians

These events will explore developments in digital in these areas, and will draw on Better connected research into council web and online services. The sessions will also feature research on digital delivery conducted by the partner organisations.

On 25 May, there will also be Learning from Better Connected, a full day event for web and digital managers based on the findings of the Better Connected 2015-16 research programme. Sessions will provide feedback on how council websites perform on ‘top tasks’ like ‘renew library book, ‘report missed bin’ or ‘pay parking fine’; reveal where improvement is needed on the presentation of websites on mobile devices, and describe the overall usability of council websites. There will also be an assessment from the Digital Accessibility Centre on the degree to which council websites are accessible to disabled people, and where there needs to be improvement.

On the evening of 24 May, the first ever Better Connected Awards will be presented for high performance based on assessments made in the 2015-16 Better Connected surveys. A range of task-based and usability awards will be presented, followed by a canal-side party catered by a selection of Birmingham’s legendary pop-up restaurants.

Better Connected Live will be supported by an exhibition of commercial products and services supporting digital councils. Throughout the event a series of demonstrations will be available, allowing visitors to experience new concepts in digital inclusion and engagement. The Digital Accessibility centre will be demonstrating assistive technologies and showing how website design impacts their use. The Tinder Foundation will demonstrate tools for activating community based assets and provide tasters of learning programmes and other digital literacy support tools and concepts. GO ON will be demonstrating its digital inclusion heat map and how this can be used by local authorities.

Find out more and register your interest on the event website

Further information: Ather Abbas on 012164 39802 or email

Press enquiries: Vicky Sargent on 07726 601139 or email

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