Foreword: Leader of the Council, Councillor Hall and Councillor Shahul-Hameed
This administration was elected on a manifesto that clearly outlines our commitment to you – the nearly 400,000 residents of Croydon.
That manifesto has been translated into our Corporate Plan for Croydon 2018-2022, a bold set of actions to deliver more efficient, effective and accessible services and to ensure that the people and the place of Croydon are thriving. In that plan, we defined how we will take a radical new approach, with residents and locally tailored services at the heart of how we deliver.
It is clear that such a radical new approach, and the future economic growth of our borough, both rely upon our making more and better use of the new opportunities that digital, data and technology provide. This new Digital Strategy is therefore a crucial enabler of how we will deliver our Corporate Plan.
Historically, Croydon is renowned for technology and innovation, from being home to the UK’s first international airport to being home to more than 2000 digital businesses in the borough today. As a council, our pioneering work on digital inclusion and transformative technology earned national recognition as Digital Council of the Year in 2017.
But technology and the internet continues to change the world around us at a fast and ever-accelerating pace. Our population is growing rapidly, at a time when central government funding for local authorities is decreasing. We face increasing challenges and urgency around environmental sustainability, and we cannot afford to stand still as we work towards our vision of becoming a digitally connected town and borough fit for the 21st century.
We’re already on our way towards becoming a truly sustainable city. Right now, Croydon is going through an unprecedented period of growth and revitalisation. We’re well underway with some £5bn of borough-wide investment that will be completed over the next few years, transforming Croydon into a world-class destination for the high numbers of residents and businesses moving here.
It is vital that digital is at the heart of this regeneration. Using technology, we must deliver tailored services and build sustainability into the design of our built environment, to provide you with the very best living conditions. Working with our local tech sector, we must continue to grow our digital economy, and make sure you can access and are equipped for the jobs of the future. We need to push further, faster with our use of digital approaches, data and technology, to ensure our borough thrives through the 4th industrial revolution.
This strategy sets out how we will make the most of the opportunities digital presents us, to:
- transform your experience as a resident by making our online services simpler, clearer and faster - and tailored to your specific needs, across our different localities
- work more openly with you as Croydon changes, engaging you on the decisions that affect you
- help our local tech economy to grow stronger and larger, creating the jobs and skilled workforce of the future, and making sure nobody in our borough is left behind through lack of digital skills or access to the internet
- make our borough and our public services smarter and more sustainable using innovative ideas and technologies
We and our Cabinet colleagues are pleased to endorse this new strategy. It sets a clear path for the next 5 years, to maximise the opportunities of digital to improve the services you use, the places where you live and work, and how efficiently the council functions so that it can provide the best services and best value to residents. There’s no shortage of political will to make Croydon a truly digital council and borough.