Artificial intelligence (AI): what senior leaders in local government should know

Created By:  Magnus Smidak
Last updated: 15 May 2024

The white paper "Artificial Intelligence (AI): What Senior Leaders in Local Government Should Know" outlines the importance of understanding AI's potential and challenges for enhancing public service delivery, focusing on ethical use, risk management, and maximizing benefits for communities.

This white paper, produced by Socitm in collaboration with Socitm Advisory and Faerfield in October 2023, provides a comprehensive overview aimed at senior leaders in local government to understand the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI). It covers a range of topics crucial for integrating AI into public services effectively and responsibly, including AI development, ethical considerations, enhancing workforce productivity, risk management, and leveraging AI for the public good.

The document highlights the significance of AI in transforming local government operations by automating routine tasks, improving data analysis, and enabling more personalized public services. It stresses the need for senior leaders to be aware of and engage with AI technologies, ensuring ethical usage, addressing biases, and considering the implications of data breaches. The paper advocates for a balanced approach to AI adoption, focusing on augmenting rather than replacing existing systems, and underscores the importance of ethical frameworks, transparency, and community engagement in AI initiatives.

Key recommendations include establishing frameworks for AI adoption that consider ethical implications, especially in sensitive areas like social care and child protection, and the necessity of leadership awareness about AI's capabilities and limitations. The paper calls for collaboration and knowledge sharing within the local government sector to harness AI's benefits fully while mitigating its risks and challenges.

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