Webinar Recording: UK Local Authority Priorities 2024
In this webinar we unveiled the findings from our latest Connectivity Survey and discussed these with four UK local authority digital leads - Dija Oliver, Heather Clark, James Pocock and Stacey McAdie. Read the key takeaways or watch the video recording.
Key Takeaways from the webinar
An up-to-date digital strategy continues to be important for local authorities, whether these are done at region, city deal or council level. Strategy not only provides direction, but also ensures buy-in from senior stakeholders and different departments such as planning and permits.
The role of digital champions still varies across local authorities. In some areas these are dedicated senior roles, in others its an add-on role to an existing capability. Some concentrate on relationship building, others see it as more ‘behind the scenes’ role. One thing everyone agreed on was that Digital Champions are key to driving innovation and access to connectivity.
‘Connecting the Unconnected’ is often seen as a rural problem, but even very urban areas like central London remain unconnected. We need to be agnostic in how we connect people, as fibre isn’t always the most appropriate solution.
Panelists highlighted that there seem more barriers in mobile deployment rather than fibre. People want mobile but don’t want masts outside their homes. There’s still a lot to be done to ‘mend the bad blood’ between planners and operators, building and improving these relationships is key.
5G continues to divide opinion among local authorities, and while there are some great use cases out there, panelists expressed the need for reliable, stable connections rather than higher bandwidths.
Service switch-offs are high on the list with extra importance on communicating this to residents and especially, those that are vulnerable. Some good examples included information on council tax bills and dedicated media campaigns.
Asked about their ‘Wishlist’, panelists mentioned better access to reliable data and closer collaboration with central government as the biggest improvements to help them deliver better connectivity.
Watch the webinar recording below
Dija Oliver, Swansea Bay City Deal, Heather Clark, City of Wolverhampton Council, Stacey McAdie, South London Partnership, James Pocock, Dumfries and Galloway Council. Moderator: Steve Smith, Principal Consultant at FarrPoint
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