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Sadiq Khan to appoint London's first ever CDO

Sadiq Khan to appoint London's first ever CDO

  • May 10, 2017
  • Joe Curtis (ITPro)


The Mayor of London is looking for the capital's first ever chief digital officer (CDO) to transform the city's public services.

The CDO will be responsible for building on existing digital initiatives and drafting a Smart London Strategy, aimed at increasing innovation using "smart technologies".

Sadiq Khan said: "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.

"I am delighted to begin my search for a Chief Digital Officer, so we can make London an even smarter smart city and use our incredible technological abilities to the best effect."

The move fulfills an election manifesto pledge for Khan, who promised his CDO would be responsible for tech sector growth, cyber security measures, and digital inclusion.

London hosts 40,000 digital technology businesses, according to Oxford Economics, which forecasts another 12,500 by 2025. Despite the Brexit vote hitting some tech startups, the capital's tech sector received £1 billion in venture capital investment since the Leave vote, according to PitchBook data.

When appointed, the CDO will work with the Mayor's Smart London Board and City Hall to draft and deliver the Smart London Strategy, as well as alongside the Mayor's Office, London councils and tech firms to drive adoption of common data standards and smart city technology.

They will also be responsible for anticipating the impact of new technologies and helping the Greater London Assembly respond with timely policies.

One challenge London will face in the coming years is the advent of AI. The Science and Technology Committee called on the government to reskill UK workers to ensure thousands are not left unemployed if they lose their jobs to automation.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, told IT Pro in a statement: "We welcome today's news that City Hall is hiring its first CDO, originally proposed in Tech London Advocates' digital manifesto at the start of last year. This shows that Mayor Khan is upgrading public services for a digital age, and that London is on the way to becoming a smart city.

"The CDO role should be well-defined and the holder must be capable of supporting Mayor Khan's challenging pledges while building an open data platform from scratch. Achieving the insights necessary to freeze transport fares or increase housing supply for Londoners will require advanced data analytics, and the CDO will need to sit at the heart of London's government to ensure the office is effective. "

Posted: May 10, 2017

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