BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIGGER CITY

Having been an intern in BDO Management Consulting for just a week, I was given the opportunity to attend my first event alongside two members of the Government Services team. The focus of The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG) event was a scheme by London Ventures called ‘Innovation in Delivery Series: Improving Public Services’. The talk centred around the ever-changing and growing desires of Londoners, and how London Councils can best use their £9billion annual spend to meet increasing public demand.

WHAT the scheme is
For those of you who are as unfamiliar with the scheme as I was, London Ventures adopts initiatives which bring together the public and private sector in “commercially successful and innovative partnerships”. It aims to improve the efficiency and performance of the capital’s public services and subsequently deliver significant benefits for London residents. The programme offers the chance for companies and investors to collaborate with the 32 London boroughs, giving Councils “the opportunity to test, develop and secure investment in innovation”.

HOW it works
London Ventures works with local authorities to put the ideas of private partners into practice – bringing innovative ideas to address the challenges of delivering modern public services. These private partners range from internet start-ups to international companies. The issues challenging local authorities are brought to the attention of London Ventures who then search for potential innovative solutions. At the same time, organisations looking to collaborate with London Ventures can submit proposals of their ideas for the board to decide whether to take them forward. (If you’re interested in applying, you can find out more here.)

Projects that have been launched to date:
The event hosted speakers from four companies whose innovations have been fostered by London Ventures and London local authorities to achieve savings, increase investment in services and, most importantly, achieve benefits for all parties.

OXYGEN FINANCE
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Aim – Unlocking new income from existing spend.
Project – Early Payment Programme to speed up business to business payments. The standard 30 day payment terms are replaced with an accelerated (target day 10) programme.
Why? Addressing the issue of late payments allows is supporting the cash flow of SMEs specifically, fostering economic growth and job creation.

SPACEHIVE
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Aim – Crowd funding civic projects.
Project – Attracting new sources of investment by creating a platform for pledging funds to support civic projects such as a new park. The platform can be used to seek ideas for regeneration projects across London and helps communities to take the lead in improving their local area. They can use the site to promote their ideas whilst investors pledge funds and offer support such as volunteers.
Why? – Nationally, annual spending on civic projects is estimated to have dropped from £3bn to £600m as government funding for councils has been cut. This project gives new innovative ideas a platform to present themselves to investors.

TMI SYSTEMS
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Aim – Reducing costs for local authorities and increasing the ease of managing projects and programmes.
Project – Provide a single Cloud based service to support the programme management and monitoring role of local authorities. The system offers real time information and can be accessed by authorised users across different locations. Management teams can view all commissioning services, projects, track progress, evaluate risk and produce reports directly.
Why? – Local authorities face numerous challenges around the commissioning and delivery of services within their areas. An ever increasing amount of information, across departments and locations, needs to be shared as organisations adopt new approaches.

XANTURA
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Aim – Providing safeguarding solutions through predictive analytics and risk modelling.
Project – Use statistically matched data to identify troubled families across London. Risk models can be used to identify potential troubled families and enables alerts to be generated. There is also predictive risk modelling for young children to help social workers intervene early if they are in danger of being harmed.
Why? – Help boroughs better support troubled families and monitor the effectiveness of interventions to improve targeting of services. The system supports the professional judgement of social workers and aids families to have greater independence from intervention support, thus improving their quality of life and cutting costs.

London Ventures is always looking for new, innovative ideas to help London local authorities provide the best possible services to their communities in the most cost effective way. So far I think the programme has achieved great success, with the extent of this depending on the boroughs choosing to take up projects. Having previously used Spacehive I found it especially interesting to hear the thought process behind its creation and how they have developed in such a short amount of time. With many more projects in the pipeline and new ideas continually being brought to London Ventures attention, the future for Londoners and the capital is bright.

Sarah Anderson is an intern at BDO Management Consulting. She is currently studying Economics at Exeter University and is interested in working in consulting when she graduates.

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