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3rd March 2021 | Central and Local Government

Guest post: This is our time

Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy & Research, Socitm, outlines how we can embrace digital to make positive change.

Yes, it is one fraught with danger, as the storm clouds of social inequality and climate emergency gather, compounded by the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As ‘digital’ permeates every aspect of our lives, we have a deep-seated, ethical responsibility to help lead and shape how technologies and data are employed to enable people, communities and our natural world to thrive. The designs we use to collate, analyse, present and harness the data generated by emerging technologies are critical, whether they are in supporting vulnerable people, ensuring accessibility and usability of digital services, sustaining an environment in which education, training, business and employment can flourish, managing the quality of the air we breathe or conserving diverse wildlife habitats.

Socitm is embracing this challenge as it positions its research advice and guidance within a framework of equitable and fair social foundations and a sustainable ecological ceiling - Doughnut economics - as advocated by Kate Raworth.

Our ethical, digital place-making model has these foundations at its heart and is providing a framework for rethinking our policy and research priorities for a post-Covid world.

Over coming months, we will be developing a range of practical resources and tools for use by our members.

These resources will pick up on a number of the themes set out in our Digital Trends 2021 briefing.

We would be delighted to hear from you about your views and suggestions for what is needed.

It is our choice. Will you be able to look your grandchildren in the eye and say: “I made a difference”?

About the author

Martin Ferguson leads and represents Socitm’s work on the following policy and research themes:

  • Ethical and secure use of emerging technologies and data
  • Service design and transformation
  • Healthy and well communities
  • Leadership, diversity and skills
  • Modernising ICT service delivery.

Martin is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a board member for the Linked Organisation of Local Authority ICT Societies, a member of Major Cities of Europe’s Organising Committee, programme manager for the UK Local CIO Council and a past President of Socitm.

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Article written by
Danielle Chapman

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