London appoints first Chief Digital Officer

30th August 2017 Jonathan Andrews

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has appointed Theo Blackwell as the capital’s first ever Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

As London’s first CDO–a manifesto commitment made by the mayor–Blackwell will assist the mayor to make London “the world’s smartest city”–one of the mayor’s key ambitions. Blackwell will be tasked with making London’s tech hub help transform the way public services are designed and delivered.

Blackwell joins the mayor’s team following work at GovTech accelerator Public Group, advising start-ups on the growing market in local public services, and was previously Head of Policy & Public Affairs for the video games industry’s trade body, Ukie–where he ran a Next Gen Skill campaign to get coding back on the curriculum.

“I am delighted to appoint Theo Blackwell as London’s first Chief Digital Officer,” said Khan. “I am determined to make London the world’s leading smart city with digital technology and data at the heart of making our capital a better place to live, work and visit. We already lead in digital technology, data science and innovation and I want us to make full use of this in transforming our public services for Londoners.”

Blackwell brings more than 20 years of experience in technology and digital transformation in both the public and private sector. In his role as cabinet member for finance, technology and growth at Camden Council, he established Camden as London’s leading digital borough through its use of public data–and this year they received national recognition as Digital Leaders Council of the year.

“The new Chief Digital Officer post is an amazing opportunity to make our capital even more open to innovation, support jobs and investment and make our public services more effective,” said Blackwell. “The pace of change over the next decade requires public services to develop a stronger relationship with the tech sector. Our purpose is to fully harness London’s world-class potential to make our public services faster and more reliable at doing things we expect online, but also adaptable enough to overcome the capital’s most complex challenges.”

He will work closely with the Mayor’s Smart London Board to develop a new Smart London Plan and will promote manifesto ambitions around pan-London collaboration on connectivity, digital inclusion, cyber-security and open data.

“The appointment of London’s first Chief Digital Officer fills an important role providing needed digital leadership for London’s public services,” said Claire Kober, Chair of London Councils. “Theo will bring his longstanding experience working with other borough leaders, which I think is critical as we develop new approaches to developing, procuring and scaling the best digital solutions across the capital.”

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