At present we’re immersed in the next steps in Aberdeen’s digital transformation, with the Council committed to embracing technology for the benefit not only of those we serve but also of staff across the organisation.
When you are in the midst of that work, it is useful to get a sense of perspective and we have had that in the past week with the publication of the UK Smart Cities Index 2017.
An in-depth study of strategy and execution in the UK’s leading smart cities accompanies the index and the report makes for very interesting reading, highlighting the progress Aberdeen is making and also showcasing cities we can take inspiration from.
Aberdeeen is 12th in the index of British cities, less than one point below Oxford and Cambridge in 11th and 10th respectively and one spot above Edinburgh. Interestingly it is Bristol which sits at the head of the table, pipping London in the assessment of the expert panel responsible for the work. The full report can be found here.
The overall standings are clearly significant, but what was particularly heartening from the Council’s perspective was recognition for the planning which is at the heart of the vision for the future.
Aberdeen was this week presented with a Star Award for strategy to coincide with the publication of the 2017 research. We were commended for the way in which smart city goals are being embedded in the design and operation of the vital services provided by the Council.
Birmingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London were all commended in the strategy category –so for Aberdeen to be leading the way is a real feather in the cap of all those involved, not just in the specific digital projects but in the Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP) as a whole. Digital cuts across all of the aims of the LOIP, designed to ensure our city prospers.
The report authors state that “Aberdeen’s approach will be watched closely by other cities” and to be viewed by independent specialists as an innovator in the field is a great endorsement and one we can take great pride in.
Of course that strategy and theory has to be turned into practice and that will be the major challenge facing Aberdeen City Council in the months ahead. It is a challenge we’re ready to embrace and I’m incredibly enthusiastic about the way in which technology can improve the lives of people in all of our communities as well as supporting a bright future for the business sector.
Cllr Douglas Lumsden