Digital Leadership #1: Reuniting Britain?

June 21, 2016

While Theresa May established her new leadership team last week (14th July) 28 prominent thought leaders from the private and public sector gathered to discuss effective Digital Leadership at a time when demand is high, funds are tight and bold decisions need to be made in a risk conscious world.

Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of both Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority, and Leader of SOLACE’s (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) Digital Leadership Network, Chaired the event in our diverse and much transformed ‘second’ city, Birmingham. In attendance were CEOs, MDs, a Chief Superintendent, Technology and Digital Leaders and Consultants. The event was co-hosted by Harvey Nash ( and KPMG (

To whet our appetite, Harvey Nash’s MD Matt Smith issued a call to action from the global Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey which showed that IT Leaders believe a clear digital strategy must be led and championed by a committed CEO to be successful. The Board must take responsibility for the Digital agenda and not lazily leave it to the domain of others…

As a Chief Executive who’s acknowledged in the Top 20 of the 2015 Local Government Chronicle’s list of the 100 most influential people, Martin Reeves acknowledged this call to action and began by setting the scene of long-term austerity, particularly in the Public Sector, and new economic pressures and political shuffling born from the recent EU referendum. Martin claimed we need to “get real” as the “numbers are stark” and the referendum result caused further instability resulting in the drama usually seen in a “bad Hollywood movie”. In the midst of this instability, Martin believes digital innovation and other disruptive technologies can bring a bright future, without it, Martin stated “the future will be dull… the austerity tide has gone out and has not come back in.” The Public Sector needs to achieve its aspirations with less revenue and capital (do more with less). If revenue and capital is not the solution, creativity and design is.

Read full article by Natalie Whittlesey, Director at Harvey Nash