Introduction from Cabinet Member Councillor Tom FitzPatrick
Work carried out under the 2018-2021 Digital Norfolk Strategy has meant that digital connectivity has been greatly improved across the county.
Significant progress has also been made in refreshing the Council's internal digital infrastructure and the ability of our staff to fully exploit the technology and data.
This work culminated in Norfolk being awarded the Connected Britain Digital Council of the Year 2020 award.
The NCC Digital Strategy and Roadmap for the 2020s builds upon these solid foundations and raises the level of ambition further.
Though this is first and foremost a strategy for exploitation of digital opportunities by the County Council, it is also intended to contribute to a wider Norfolk place-based strategy and highlights the importance of joined-up partnership working.
The emphasis remains on improving digital connectivity, digital skills and effective use of joined up systems and data to support delivery of the council’s strategic vision.
It is not about technology for the sake of technology, rather about enabling the improvement of quality of life for Norfolk’s residents, businesses and visitors.
The Council’s digital strategy exists for two main reasons. Firstly to support growth, both business growth and the wider strategic agenda of inclusive growth for the people of Norfolk.
Secondly, to enable all areas of the County Council’s operations to exploit digital, technological and data driven opportunities to achieve the best outcomes possible within our budgets.
As the current Digital strategy cycle draws to a close, research and consultation has been undertaken to refresh and extend the Digital Strategy so that it operates as a Digital Strategy and Roadmap for the 2020s.
The 2018-2021 Digital Norfolk Strategy oversaw many improvements to the Council’s technological and digital infrastructure as well as connectivity for Norfolk’s residents and businesses. We therefore build on solid foundations as we look forward to how technology and digital services should evolve during the 2020s.
Broadband and mobile services availability and speeds are now close to the overall national average and better than many other rural counties. However, more needs to be done to achieve our objective of 100% fixed and mobile coverage, so this remains a key strategic focus area.
Digital skills, digital inclusion, seamless multi-agency public sector working, carbon reduction, use of IoT sensor networks, agile low-code/no-code development, exploiting data and supporting the transition to electric vehicles are all growth areas for the ambition of the strategy.
The risks posed by cyber security attacks also means our defences must continue to receive the appropriate level of investment and priority.
Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be monitored as they develop and integrated into NCCs technology stack as and when they are sufficiently mature.