Steps to support ‘Smart City’ ambitions to be discussed by executive board

Proposals setting out Leeds’ ambitions to maximise its full potential as a ‘Smart City’ are set to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

As part of a report submitted to Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday 17 December 2014, members will have the opportunity to consider how the city plans to bring together and use existing and new digital technologies to engage better and improve the lives of residents, whilst boosting economic growth. This follows a number of positive steps which have already taken in this area since the creation of a small designated council Smart Cities’ team in January 2014. Achievements to date include the development of Leeds Data Mill, which provides a home for a wealth of information taken from across the city, increasing WI-FI access in 103 public buildings and support to improve the integration and connection of health and care services in the city.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

"It is absolutely vital that we ensure Leeds is ready and able to take full advantage of the ever-changing opportunities that are available to us in the digital age.

"The work we have already undertaken through our Smart Cities team has played an important role in informing how through digital technologies we can improve our local services, engage more with local residents and boost connectivity and economic growth. As part of this paper to the executive board which I hope will be supported by members, we have set out how we plan as a council to take forward our Smart Cities programme in the future."

To ensure progress continues to be made, the report sets out a number of key areas which if agreed by the executive board, will be targeted by the council as part of its future Smart Cities strategy. This includes strengthening its existing Smart Cities team and continuing to work with partners to find better outcomes in health and wellbeing services through the introduction of improved technology and information sharing. Leeds will also aspire to become the ‘Best City’ in deriving the value from data. The innovative work undertaken by skilled Data Scientists will be used to create new policy and action that can then be used to meet the significant challenges that exist in the city today. This will sit aside a continued programme of working with partners, businesses, key stakeholders and schools to encourage and provide opportunities to acquire new digital skills and knowledge. In order to expand its learning and improve how it identifies and understanding specific issues in communities, the council will work with localities to find possible solutions through the introduction of new digital technologies.

The council is also set to allocate a £150k Capital Innovation Fund to support civic enterprise Smart City projects. It is estimated by a recent Arup study that Smart City Services have a potential value to the UK economy of $40bn by 2025.

For a full copy of the executive report, please see: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s124710/Smart%20Cities%20Report%20Appendix%20041214.pdf

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk