housing & housing services
local government

Effectively Using Artificial Intelligence Across the Public Sector

housing & housing services

local government

8:45 - 16:00

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Central London



This Forum will give attendees the opportunity to discuss how the public sector can best use artificial intelligence across central government, local government and housing association services to reduce costs, raise efficiency and free up staff time. Attendees will be able to assess the latest policy developments to increase the uptake of these technologies in the public sector, including how the public sector fits into the government’s AI Sector Deal. Delegates will also be able to hear from best practice case studies in implementing artificial intelligence across a range of public sector contexts.


This forum is specifically designed for Local Government, Central Government and Housing Associations. Typical job titles will include:  

  • Digital Strategy Leads
  • Data Scientists
  • Heads of Data
  • Developers
  • Head of Analytics
  • Technical Software Developers
  • IT Service Managers
  • Heads of Innovation
  • Data Engineers
  • Programme Delivery Leads
  • Transformation Managers
  • Information Officers
  • Customer Experience Directors
  • Heads of Information Management and Technology
  • Housing Service Managers
  • Data Protection Officers
  • Housing Strategy Managers

This Forum is also open to the private sector to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Stephen Hennigan, Deputy Head, Office for Artificial Intelligence (Joint BEIS/DCMS Unit)
  • Breandon Knowlton, Lead Technical Architect for Innovation, Government Digital Service (Cabinet Office)
  • Katherine Mayes, Programme Manager for Artificial Intelligence, Tech UK
  • Zoe Webster, Director of Artificial Intelligence, Innovate UK
  • Maryvonne Hassall, Digital Strategy Manager, Aylesbury Vale District Council
  • Neil Lawrence, Digital Transformation Manager, Oxford City Council
  • Jenny Churchard, Business Solutions Lead, Surrey County Council
  • Tina Drury, Chief Executive, Your Homes Newcastle
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Leslie Willcocks, Professor of Work and Technology, London School of Economics and Political Science (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Update on the Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal and What it Means for the Public Sector

  • Outlining the key aims of the Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal, which commits £1 billion to the AI sector to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of AI
  • Guaranteeing that the ‘Office for Artificial Intelligence’ is supporting AI uptake beyond the private sector and guiding public sector bodies in implementing these technologies
  • Implementing the Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK guidance which aims to fully understand where public sector bodies are currently implementing AI 
  • Ensuring that central government, local government and housing associations continue to work in partnership with the Government Digital Service, the Data Science Partnership and private sector firms to extract the latest breakthrough technology in AI 
  • Understanding that the public sector can be a genuine customer of AI services following the creation of the Digital Marketplace, which provides specialist advice for implementing technology in the public sector

Stephen Hennigan, Deputy Head, Office for Artificial Intelligence (Joint BEIS/DCMS Unit) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Achieving Technological Innovation Across Central and Local Government

  • Detailing the role of the Government Digital Service, a Cabinet Office unit which drives the adoption of emerging technologies across the public sector and shows how to structure experimentation in AI and RPA
  • Outlining the Government Service Standard and Technology Code of Practice, which provides practical guidance to government departments in ensuring technological implementation best meets user needs
  • Continuing the Government as a Platform initiative to promote and coordinate collaboration across boundaries between central government departments and local authorities so that best practice is spread
  • Launching the GovTech Catalyst programme, which grants a £20 million fund to public sector bodies to ensure the successful implementation of their AI, robotics and automation projects

Breandán Knowlton, Lead Technical Architect for Innovation, Government Digital Service (Cabinet Office) (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session

Delegates will be able to submit live questions and discussion points to speakers on the day via the Sli.do mobile application, which can be downloaded on the day. This will enable closer exchanges and discussion between attendees and speakers. 


Refreshments and Networking Session


Case Study: Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Efficiency and Cut Costs Across Council Operations

  • Implementing a ‘Connected Knowledge’ strategy which introduces AI to customer service operations to cut resident waiting times, reduce council costs and free up staff for more demanding jobs
  • Introducing CLOUD-IT, such as Digital Genius’s ‘Human+AI Customer Service Platform’ which understands and responds to complex complaints, reducing query response times by 50%
  • Utilising machine learning so that cloud technology is learning from every customer interaction, which has increased the accuracy of the AI by 300% since 2016
  • Partnering with Amazon Web Services to implement ALEXA, which enables council residents to make enquiries via voice command and has reduced transaction cost per resident from £2 to 10p
  • Placing self-service in AVDC’s 100% cloud software model to ensure more efficient operation of services for staff and customers, saving £6 million whilst maintaining 90% accuracy rates

Awarded Digital Transformation of the Year at The Professional Service Management Awards 2017

Maryvonne Hassall, Digital Strategy Manager, Aylesbury Vale District Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Exploring AI as a Solution to a Council’s Customer and Service Design Problems

  • Introducing AI and chatbot devices into council operations to save costs and increase efficiency, whilst building a research base to tracks the impact of AI
  • Leading the way in councils who are exploring the feasibility of introducing an open source, common platform for developing chatbot and AI solutions
  • Reaping the benefits of AI implementation, such as £15,000 per annum saved on planning advice and tens of thousands of resident calls per year
  • Being the lead council for this research and implementation project, which has partnered with over ten councils so far

Neil Lawrence, Digital Transformation Manager, Oxford City Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Implementing Leading AI Robotics Through a Cross-Council Partnership

  • Building the Orbis partnership between Surrey Surrey, East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Councils to driving implementation of robotics an AI across council contexts
  • Providing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions across IT, digital, HR, Internal Audit and Administrative activity, showing the range of applications possible
  • Saving time by asking teams across the councils which processes they believed would benefit most from RPA and directing implementation strategy based on this
  • Putting in place helpdesk robotics which deal with over 150,000 enquiries each year, with 84% resolved at first contact
  • Implementing portals which, in February 2019, reduced customer enquiries by 42% with an estimated yearly reduction in staff costs of £12,000

Winner of the Pensions Technology Award at the The Rewards 2018

Shortlisted for the ‘Driving Efficiency Through Technology Award’ at the 2019 LGC Awards

Jenny Churchard, Business Solutions Lead, Surrey County Council (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Supporting High Standards in Artificial Intelligence Implementation across the Public Sector

  • Understanding the possibility and feasibility of introducing emerging technology into public sector environments, with reference to overcoming key barriers to implementation
  • Highlighting the ethical considerations for the introduction of AI and data-driven technologies, such as security risks and data ethics
  • Making the case for the public sector playing a role in leading the implementation of emerging technologies in the UK
  • Building public trust in artificial intelligence through the public sector, such as through positive campaigning about the potential impact of AI in public life

Katherine Mayes, Programme Manager for Artificial Intelligence, Tech UK (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Adopting AI in the Public Sector Through Private Sector Collaboration

  • Supporting a range of businesses to develop and deploy AI, informing how the public sector could benefit from AI innovation
  • Promoting cross-sector collaboration to drive forward the adoption of AI in the public sector through close partnerships with private sector technology firms
  • Learning from the differences in AI uptake in the public and private sector, pressing forward where the public sector can learn effectively

Zoe Webster, Director of Artificial Intelligence, Innovate UK (CONFIRMED)


Question and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: A Housing Association Perspective - Improving 360,000 Properties Through AI Robotics

  • Partnering with Q-Bot to develop smart tools using robotics and AI to inspect, monitor and maintain healthy buildings and efficient homes
  • Creating a Commercial Lab to enable staff to make constructive future suggestions, such as the adoption of AI alternatives, which can become commercial ventures
  • Achieving energy savings through Q-Bot of around £180 a year in heating bills with much less disruption and improved SAP ratings for landlords
  • Demonstrating the benefits of AI robotics in improving efficiency of services, such as Q-Bot’s underfloor insulation which reduces energy use by 25% and draughts by up to 50%

David Langhorne, Assets and Development Director , Your Homes Newcastle (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Leading the Way in the Implementation of Robotic Process Automation

  • Executing HMRC’s ‘Automation Delivery Centre’, which has delivered 10 million robotic transactions across the department to reduce costs and raise employee value for money
  • Implementing RPA via dashboards which open and deliver files directly to employee screens, reducing call times by up to two minutes and mouse clicks by over 600% so that employees can focus on providing more detailed guidance to customers
  • Using robotics as part of HMRC’s employer registration process, which processes 85% of applications automatically without human intervention and has reduced processing costs by 80%
  • Building a Digital Mail Service which scans mail, categorises it and delivers it to a customer database file, providing savings of 9 seconds per mail item and over 450 hours each day
  • Running an ‘Ideas Front Door’ which promotes automation ideas from staff, receiving over 300 robotic automation ideas and automating over 70 organisation processes since 2014
  • Continuing to work with the Cabinet Office’s ‘RPA Centre for Excellence’, which drives action to ensure HMRC has over 10,000 staff using automated tasks, with 350 employees moved from clerical to customer-orientated roles

Awarded Best IT Project Team of the Year for the ‘Automation Delivery Centre’ at The UK Information Technology Industry Awards 2017

Mark Holl, Programme Director for Automation and Machine Learning, HM Revenue & Customs (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks

*Programme Subject to Change


In the second half of 2018, public service productivity in the UK fell 2.0%, compared with whole UK economy increases of 1.4% during this same period, according to Office for National Statistics figures. Research by GlobalData shows that only 12% of councils have deployed Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This figure rises only to 30% when accounting for all public sector organisations. In a context of falling productivity and funding, including cuts to local services of £1.3 billion (36%) planned for 2019/20, the public sector must look towards AI as a method of re-imagining the delivery of services and meeting rising service demand. This need is exaggerated further given estimates by Deloitte and the University of Oxford that AI could save public sector bodies over £17 billion by 2030. 

The 2018 AI Sector Deal, published by The Office for Artificial Intelligence to build on the October 2017 independent review Growing the AI Industry in the UK, announced over £20 billion of government funding to innovative industry practices. In July 2018, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published their Local Digital Declaration. This committed £7.5 million to local councils over the next two years to help them reform their technology structures to better meet today’s challenges, including a Local Digital Fund within this for those council’s with the most promising technology reform bids.

In 2017 the Government Digital Service (GDS), a Cabinet Office unit, commissioned the Government Transformation Strategy 2017 to 2020. This gave an extensive review of technology across the public sector and included the creation of the GovTech initiative. The GovTech initiative has vowed to invest £20 million between 2017-2020 to encourage public bodies to work closer with technology firms to develop innovative solutions to growing challenges.

GDS research is showing that public sector bodies are beginning to explore AI solutions, but are doing so in isolation. Without cross-departmental collaboration, the public sector could face falling further behind in productivity, efficiency and data insight. At a time of proliferating technology, combined with the challenges of intense public sector funding cuts and rising service demand, discussing how AI can enhance public sector services could not be more crucial.

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