CIPFA Scotland: Glasgow leader sets out digital vision

31 Mar 17

The leader of Scotland’s biggest council told the CIPFA Scotland conference of his vision for a digital future in which poorer families are helped to develop internet capabilities and schoolchildren retain a personalised computer tablet throughout their school careers.

Former Scottish minister Frank McAveety, now Labour leader of Glasgow City Council, told delegates of the council’s Smart City agenda, which co-ordinates data gathered from sources like lamppost censors to enhance a range of services such as transport, cleansing, crowd control and law and order.

Glasgow has won funding through both the Innovate UK programme and the EU Lighthouse City initiative to develop and demonstrate the potential of technology-enhanced public services. Much of the data is shared with other users through the biggest open data hub in the UK outside London. 

A Glasgow Operations Centre in the city’s east end receives and analyses data from a range of municipal sources, working closely with a nearby Police Scotland centre.  Information can be swiftly transmitted for operational purposes by Twitter.    

“We have brought all these services and public agencies together,” McAveety said. “All the people who think they are talking to one another but who sometimes are talking over one another.”

Earlier, Liam Kerr, the Scottish Conservatives’ transport and infrastructure spokesman at Holyrood, had extolled the virtues of digital technology but said it was important that it was used to empower the work of staff rather than to replace them.

Kerr also attacked the Scottish Government for failing to follow the UK increase in the higher income tax threshold.  He said that Scots were paying more tax despite having a rate of economic growth that was only a third of the UK’s, a widening household income gap and a lower employment rate.

  • Keith Aitken
    Keith Aitken

    covers Scottish affairs for Public Finance from Edinburgh. He was formerly economics editor and chief leader writer on The Scotsman and now has a busy freelance career as a writer, broadcaster and event chair.

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