West Midlands Mayor: New hub shows region is at the heart of the digital technology landscape

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The creation of a new hub for public services in the West Midlands shows that the region is at the heart of the digital technology landscape, according to the West Midlands Mayor.

A blueprint for the hub has been unveiled which will see greater efforts to explore how digital work can be improved across central and local government, national organisations, education providers and local suppliers.

The proposals were unveiled alongside the confirmation that a new Government Digital Service (GDS) pop-up academy will also be coming to the region.

Andy Street

Andy Street

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, hailed the announcement, which was made at the Public Sector Digital Midlands showcase.

He said: “This event has highlighted the fantastic work already being done by digital teams here in the West Midlands. Yet, we’re only at the beginning of an even greater period of digital transformation that will take place in our region.

“The West Midlands will not only be the UK’s first 5G testbed – its UrbanChallenge will catalyse public-private partnership in a bid to ensure our public services are smarter and more innovative than ever before.

“Further expansion from public sector digital teams here confirm the region as the heart of public sector digital services and skills.”

The new academy will run a series of courses in Birmingham to help support the continued development of civil servants in readiness for an increase in digital, data and technology roles.

Kevin Cunnington, GDS Director General, said: “The academy runs courses such as the digital and agile foundation course, which has seen over 1,000 graduates.

“I am looking forward to listening to our partners to find out what more we can do to continue supporting them, and wider government, with the digital transformation of public services.”

It was also confirmed that there will be a new HM Courts and Tribunal Service digital hub created in the region.

The unit, made up of up to 100 tech and digital roles, will work as part of a wider project to modernise the justice system.

Jane Fallon, Head of Digital of the Office of the Public Guardian, who spearheaded Public Sector Digital Midlands, said: “This event has showcased the innovative digital teams in the Midlands that are transforming public sector services.

“From central and local government, to the NHS, the police and education – the Midlands is a hive of digital activity and successful public sector hub that is yet to realise its full potential.

“Through this blueprint, we want to position the Midlands as the UK’s number one hub for public sector digital services.

“The Midlands is well-positioned to bring digital teams together and break down barriers between central and local government. I look forward to seeing how this action-plan progresses”.

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