Editorial

Time to think afresh about what ‘place’ really means – Socitm

Smart places and location intelligence: two themes that should be at the heart of all your transformation work, says the group

Posted 3 May 2017 by

Anyone in any way involved with the transformation of public services needs to start thinking about ‘place’, look beyond the concept of smart cities – and consider new ways of using location data.

These are the main messages being discussed at the spring conference in London today of public sector IT leadership group Socitm, where 200 delegates from across local government, public sector and their private sector partners are convening to discuss the main issues facing the community.

Socitm Director of Policy & Research Martin Ferguson is this morning set to introduce ‘Smart Places’ and ‘Location Intelligence’ research resources, designed to help public service roles “deliver a future in which digital is at its best – achieving public sector ambitions in everything from environment to economy”.

Ferguson will highlight the extensive Socitm Smart Places project – a series of seven guides researched and written by industry expert and former Socitm president Jos Creese, which attempts to offer ways to “apply the ideas and the best practice of smart cities to rural and semi-urban areas, including small cities and towns, whole regions and the whole nation”.

Location is emerging as a strong theme from Socitm research, too – based on real-life case studies where location intelligence is making a difference to public life.

For example, a Welsh Government project led by Newport City Council and Cardiff City Council has used location intelligence to detect council tax avoidance and fraud, generating some £260,000 in revenue across the authorities involved.

That could translate to £7m-plus could be saved across England and Wales if replicated, says the group.

Smart Places and Location Intelligence projects are designed to help local government and public sector make a real difference to public life, claims Socitm, and are being offered to the community for free, given the importance of the themes they raise.

Both sets of Socitm Smart Places and Socitm Location Intelligence resources have been produced for subscribers to Socitm’s research service, Insight, using funding generated by the programme.

However, because these subjects are, in the eyes of the group, “essential reading”, the introductions of both projects are publicly available, at:

Smart Places

Location Intelligence