A new bootcamp to increase data science skills across London's local government has been launched today (Monday 12 July) by the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Data Science Campus and the London Office of Technology and Innovation (LOTI).

Fifteen officers working for London boroughs and the Greater London Authority (GLA) have been selected for the pilot cohort of this new data science bootcamp.

The 12-week programme blends structured training with project-based mentoring and will develop coding and analysis skills for data matching projects.  It will improve the officers' ability to help London boroughs and the GLA to use data to gain a deeper understanding of the city, underpin policy and design more effective services.

The programme is modelled on the unique "applied training" approach delivered by the ONS Data Science Campus,  tailored in collaboration with LOTI, London boroughs and the GLA to meet the needs of data scientists and analysts working in London government.

It also equips graduates to teach colleagues what they have learned thanks to a "train the trainer" approach, enabling these skills to be shared at pace.

Alison Pritchard, Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Data Capability at the ONS said: "We're happy to bring our bootcamp to London to help ensure that the capital's data is used for public good, providing timely insight to inform policy and improve lives.

"We hope that working with the London Office of Technology and Innovation can provide a blueprint for future programmes, bringing data skills to communities across the UK to really help the country harness the power of data at a local level."

Eddie Copeland, Director of LOTI, said: "Using data intelligently and responsibly is absolutely key to enabling local government to be truly responsive to their residents' needs. This programme will help ensure that London boroughs have access to advanced data skills in-house, aiding them in using the information at their disposal to deliver better, more coordinated services for Londoners."   

London Councils' Digital Champion, Mayor Philip Glanville, said: "Using data more effectively to serve the capital's residents and businesses will be a real gamechanger for London boroughs and the GLA, especially as we commit to building back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver the nine recovery missions.

"This brilliant pilot programme brings together local government insight and the cutting-edge knowledge of the ONS to strengthen London's capabilities in data science.

"Congratulations to our first cohort of recruits, who help continue LOTI's focus on bringing together London's government and support the development of in-house public sector digital and data skills across the capital for the benefit of citizens, boroughs and the wider city.

"I'm excited to see how we can harness their skills to address the most pressing challenges we face and develop innovative solutions we may not have considered before."

Theo Blackwell, London's Chief Digital Officer, said: "Joining up and analysing data is vital to the city's response to the pandemic but when the crisis struck we simply didn't have enough native data scientists working across local government.  As public services look at prevention -- ill-health, homelessness, poverty, violent crime -- these all require a more sophisticated approach to sharing data and having the right teams in place to make a difference with it.

"So it's really important that all public services develop their in-house data capability and I'm delighted the City Hall is supporting this work with the ONS to upskill a new cohort of data scientists to support local public services."

This announcement comes as LOTI celebrates its two-year anniversary on 15 July 2021. Since it was founded in 2019, it has made improving digital leadership within London local government a major priority. In its second year, learning from the insights gained during the pandemic, the focus has shifted to data and its benefits to more intelligent service delivery in future. LOTI has organised a series of events this week to celebrate its achievements and share plans for the future. For more information visit loti.london.