WEDNESDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2016, 16.45-18.15 


~ A G E N D A ~

16.45    1)     Apologies, introductions, notes and matters arising from meeting 13/07/2016

16.55     2)     Updates on key issues

  • ODI node                              HR
  • Open Data Day 2017 PR
  • Open Data Commission           TR
  • Regional Observatory PR 

17.15    3)     The implications of the Birmingham City Council ICTD Strategy for Open Data and Innovation                                               Andy Fullard

17.55    5)     Members’ brief updates (round robin of items not on agenda)

18.10    6)     AOB and dates of next meetings – Nov 16th 2016 & Jan 18th 2017

If you have a lot to report at the meeting, please submit a 1-page summary to the Secretary which can be circulated with the minutes and agenda before the meeting 

CIRCULATION LIST (updated Aug 2016): Pauline Roche (RnR Organisation), Ted Ryan (RnR Organisation), Chris Price (digiconsultancy), Hugo Russell (Innovation Birmingham), Bethan Bishop (formerly Heart of England NHS Trust), Heike Schuster‑James (BCC, Digital Birmingham), Stuart Lester (Transport for WM), Teresa Jolley, (Future Highways), Glyn Simpson (Centro), Gordon Telling (Transport for WM), Andy Radford (BCC Transport), Darren Wright (Inside Outcomes), Susannah Goh (BCU), Ravi Kumar (Black Country Consortium), Stuart Harrison (ODI), Raj Mack (BCC, Digital Birmingham), Heather Clarke (Wolverhampton CC), , Nathan Coyle (Our New Union), Jason Davies (WM Fire Service), James Cattell (Defra), Andrew Mackenzie (Open Mercia), Alex Hogan (eticlab), Andy Reeve (Impact Hub Birmingham), Ardavan Amini (BCU), Don Dhaliwal (BIP Online), Mike Waters (Coventry City Council), Paul Beckley (Centro), Pupul Chatterjee.


ATTENDED BY:        Pauline Roche – Chair         (RnR Organisation)

Chris Price – Secretary        (digiconsultancy)

Hugo Russell                     (Innovation Birmingham)

Teresa Jolley                    (ODI Birmingham)

Glyn Simpson                    (WMCA)

Ted Ryan                         (RnR Organisation)

Raj Mack                          (BCC, Digital Birmingham)

Andy Fullard                      (BCC)

Heike Schuster‑James         (BCC, Digital Birmingham)

Ardavan Amini                   (BCU)

APOLOGIES:           Andrew Mackenzie             (Open Mercia)

Bethan Bishop                   (Consultant)

Jason Davies                    (WM Fire Service)

Anisa Haghdadi                  (Beatfreeks)

James Cattell                    (Defra)

Susannah Goh                   (BCU)

Stuart Lester                     (Transport for WM)

Ravi Kumar                       (Black Country Consortium)

Gordon Telling                   (Transport for WM)

Darren Wright                   (Inside Outcomes)

  1. The NOTES of the last meeting of 13thJuly were agreed.  The Share‑PSI local guide had been loaded onto the WMODF website here.

Stuart Lester had sent an update on the procurement of the platform for Transport in the West Midlands – the requirements will be finished in November; the contract notice will be issued in February 2017, leading to awarding it by December 2017.

Ravi Kumar sent the following update:  The Black Country Smart City Strategy meeting had been extended to become the Black Country Smart City Network.  This group will bring together the following documents:

Black Country Smart City Strategy

Black Country Digital Strategy

Black Country Local Digital Roadmap

Open data was identified as being key to any Smart City Strategy for the region.

Birmingham ODI node – HR reported that Innovation Engine Funding would soon be available for the development of Birmingham In Real‑Time (BIRT), an exploratory project supported by the Smart City Alliance to bring together real‑time data.

Stuart Harrison, of the ODI, is making a presentation to Tech Wednesday next week.

As part of the creation of the new Universities Centre, it is planned to engage the five universities in aspects of Open Data and Innovation.

TJ is now the node’s second registered trainer.  She mentioned that she was awaiting imminently a decision on the Highways API bid.

HR will attend the ODI Summit and Awards on 1st November and reminded members that a number of complimentary ODI Birmingham memberships were still available.

Open Data Day:  PR was liaising with the Birmingham Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness & Equalities, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, to organise an event for International Open Data Day on 4th March 2017.

Currently it is early days but 2 suggestions for themes are:

  • focus on using data to draw attention to and generate public debate on the key issues that need to be on the candidates’ radar and the Mayor’s agenda, possibly “Top 10 things about the WM that the Mayor needs to address;
  • something that helps us all understand a bit better what we in the West Midlands have in common with each other, how we vary, and how to appreciate both?

Members wondered what standard briefings Mayoral candidates would receive and expressed the hope that bottom up data would be supplied.

Open Data Commission:  This is an ongoing project – the document is available on Google Docs.  PR expressed her appreciation of the comments being added, particularly by Darren Wright.  CP reported that Bethan Bishop was looking at improving the Top 10 Tips.

Regional Observatory:  The WM Research and Intelligence Group had identified the need for a Regional Observatory for WMCA.  Jason Lowther, Head of Corporate Strategy at BCC, was leading on this.


Andy Fullard, who has been working for Birmingham City Council since last year, outlined his role and the development of the strategy.

He had been recruited to achieve four objectives:

  • take ownership of the ICT strategy from Service Birmingham,
  • manage the City Council’s relationship with Service Birmingham,
  • identify cost‑saving initiatives,
  • manage the replacement of the ICT contract in 2021.

He was being appointed at JNC level as the first Chief Information Officer for the City Council.

The high level strategy had already been developed and agreed and a consultation process inside and outside the Council was underway.  The strategy combined the Information and Communication Technology Strategy with that of digital and was intended to create a way of working.  A high level 3 version had been made available to the WMODF group.

The strategy has six themes which had associated critical success factors and plans:

Integrated ICT:  The aim is to bring data together which is currently dispersed around the Authority.  There was little innovation currently in the use of data.

Digital Facilitation:  How can services be digitised?

Governance and Assurance:  Need to standardise and share, not duplicate.  The capacity to carry this out needed strengthening.

Innovation:  Birmingham City Council was currently behind the curve because of its single provider and use of the wrong tools.  This was an area in which external contribution and challenge is welcome.

Commissioning and Procurement:  Aim to move to a wider range of suppliers.

Insight:  Creation of greater value from the data that the City Council generates and holds.

Consultation on the draft strategy was underway and 140 external stakeholders had been canvassed and more internally.  AF said he welcomed feedback which, he believed, would lead to a better document.  The strategy was not a one‑off activity and there would be an annual report to Committee – he was developing a strategy website.  AF mentioned that this strategy covered ICT and digital, a first for local authorities.  The Information Management Strategy (some four years old) was being updated by external consultants Arcos who would identify Critical Success Factors.  There were currently 80 staff working on data in the LA.  At present the high levels of security which Service Birmingham operated were obstructing access by managers.  The aim was to bring strategic capabilities in‑house, moving the role of the Intelligent Client Function to future strategy rather than contract management.

The next level of the strategy was being submitted to Cabinet on 18th September with proposed capital provision and funding for staff training.  The aim was to work across the public sector, eg with Police, within the challenge of risk and legal issues.  AF believed that the Information Management Strategy can’t be/shouldn’t be delivered by BCC on its own.  AF intended to move Birmingham to the front and to be an exemplar.

AA pointed out that there were ICT & d needs for BCC and for the wider City.  It was important to share architectures to support services for citizens.  AF said the City solutions would be linked to the Government Data Service.  BCC had contracted SOCITM to carry out a review of the strategy and they had welcomed the intention to follow a combined approach of ICT and digital.

TR encouraged AF to move from data silos to a Council‑wide data store.  AF remarked that much work was needed as there was currently no city‑wide data model or data dictionary.  AA offered assistance from a research student to look at cross‑service business process integration. PR said she was aware of a Data Dictionary belonging to a WMODF member, and would request details which could be sent to AF for information.

Action: PR/AF

CP asked about including the needs of business (SMEs) and the visitor economy which were not mentioned in the high level consultation.  AF recognised the value of partnerships with big suppliers and the opportunity for innovation offered by SMEs.  One difficulty was the historic risk aversion of the City Council.  RM mentioned that there was greater reference to business needs in the later versions of the strategy.

AF recognised the need to change culture to make BCC more agile and was happy to learn from others, eg in the area of ‘gameification’.

TR requested that the strategy included links to the Voluntary Sector and the qualities of openness and accessibility.

In summary, PR mentioned that a response from WMODF to the City strategy consultation had been drafted and this would be circulated to members to improve.

Action:  Draft consultation response by WMODF to be circulated for improvements and submitted by Friday Sept 16th.  All/CP/PR. – UPDATE: Response was submitted

There was a discussion of the need to replace the contract with Service Birmingham by 2021.  There was a commitment to a more diverse supply and to challenge existing solutions against the Key Performance Indicators.  There would be benefits from linking data insight and open data.  Access to data needed to be improved even if they had to be aggregated or offered on a restricted basis to approved organisations.  It was recognised that the Council Open Data Policy was 2 years old and needed review – consultation with WMODF could help.

Action:  It was agreed that a half‑day workshop/session between AF and WMODF would be useful between mid‑October and mid‑December.  AF/PR.


RM referred to the ERDF‑funded (£2.5m) Eastern Corridor Big Data project between BCC and Aston University.  This involved collecting existing and new data to make available for SMEs.  Initial funding had been received for the Urban Living Partnership project to be carried out by the four universities which should lead to a major bid for further support. This project already has 250 datasets.

GS reported that an API to real‑time bus travel data was being built over the next few months, similar to the approach of TfL.


The next meetings were agreed to be 16th November 2016 (during Enterprise Week) and 18th January 2017.



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