Meet the DL Local Champions 2016

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Written by Louise Stokes, Head of Online at Digital Leaders

Digital Leaders is proud to introduce the regional DL Local Champions for 2016, who have been nominated by each of 12 DL Local Programmes to celebrate their positive impact of an individual on a digital landscape in the region.

From rural inclusion to digital transformation of local governments, from digitising SMEs to empowering women in IT – those individual make UK the nation of digital significance by their ever-lasting enthusiasm, brilliant ideas and immense contribution to spreading digital agenda in their region communities and across UK.

DL East of England 

Chloe Smith MP

Chloe Smith, British Conservative Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Norwich North.

Chloe Smith MP was awarded the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Award under the Business Driver category for designing and conceiving the Norwich for Jobs project. The initiative has helped halve youth unemployment in Norwich.

Chloe supports investment initiatives into digital skills, so as to ensure young people are equipped to compete and pursue successful digital careers in a global economy. She is encouraging young people across East Anglia to use their skills, imagination and initiative to get stuck in to the growing tech industry. Sync the City, the three-day marathon of start-up building held annually in Norwich, is just one example of the opportunities on offer and what can be achieved.

DL East Midlands

Suraj_KikaSuraj Kika, Founder and Group CEO, Jadu

Serial software entrepreneur with a background in design, I work with super smart Agile software engineers and designers to build beautiful, usable web software.

He founded Jadu in 2001. Working in the Higher Education, Government and Commercial sectors – Jadu develops multi-channel web and customer experience management software that helps organizations manage their online content, customer data and mobile apps.

Jadu has collaborated with several local governments and city councils to launch brand new, fully responsive websites which sit on the Jadu Continuum digital platform and and include ‘MyAccount’ functionality.

Jadu has also been featured in TechNation Report 2016 as one of the most successful companies in East Midlands. 

DL London


Nadira Hussain Head of ICT at London Borough of Tower Hamlets
An experienced ICT and Change Management leader with 20+ years of both private sector and extensive public sector experience who has worked in numerous roles both at the operational and strategic level within the ICT service, the business and across shared services.

As President of SOCITM (15/16), Nadira focused on two areas: exploring ways in which local government can improve service delivery and value for money through sharing, and attracting more women to the Society, supporting the provision of personal development opportunities through the successful launch and delivery of the ‘Empowering Women in the Digital World’ leadership programme and improving the visibility of women more widely.

Nadira intends to continue with this initiative into the next year to further embed and develop it, with the focus turning to how we attract young girls into tech and the public sector.

DL North East

connConn Crawford, Strategic Projects Officer at City of Sunderland

Approaching 30 years in local government – with Sunderland since 1997- happy working with Open or Personal data, he loves exploring multi-app smartcard and/or federated services solutions, often in EU or UK research council collaborations. Currently contributing to North East Combined Authority digital strategy, Conn wants to see open, inclusive, innovation transform public service.



DL North West


Dave Carter, Honorary Research Fellow at Centre for Urban Policy Studies (CUPS), University of Manchester
Dave Carter is currently Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Urban Policy Studies (CUPS) at the University of Manchester, working on smart cities and digital inclusion. He worked for Manchester City Council for nearly 30 years and is a great advertisement for leading digital transformation by example. Previously, he was Head of the Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA), part of Manchester City Council, from 2004 to 2014. Dave also chaired the EU Connected Smart Cities Network and Portfolio Working Group and the Eurocities KSF Smart Cities Working Group.

Dave is one of the people who, through his dedicated work and personal commitments to the digital agenda, led the North West and Manchester into a whole new world of opportunities. He acted as the fulcrum for development across the region from the days when the internet was something technical and just feasible, into the key for regeneration and growth. He still does.

DL Northern Ireland

caronCaron Alexander, Director of Digital Shared Services at Department of Finance

In her role as Director of Digital services, Caron established the Northern Ireland Digital Transformation Programme in 2014 and working closely with the NI government Departments and wider public sector, directed the first projects for delivery by April 2016 exceeding the government targets of 16 new/transformed digital citizens services and 3.5 million associated digital transactions over the 2 year period.  Caron is also responsible for the NI citizen portal for government services where all of the new services can be found,, and Nidirect contact centre services which plays an integral part in assisting citizens to access digital services.

She is passionate about the digital transformation programme, and is looking forward to driving the next phase working with the very talented transformation team on both transactional and crosscutting services, e.g. ‘Tell us once’.  Caron is also responsible for driving the NI Digital Inclusion and Open Data agendas.   Recently she took over responsibility for NI Civil Service (NICS) IT shared services and was appointed Head of the NICS ICT profession.

DL Scotland 

Ross McCulloch, Director and Founder of Third Sector Lab

Ross has worked tirelessly to bring together those passionate about digital as a tool for social change through the, now global, Be Good Be Social events, which he founded. Ross has trained and mentored a huge range of charity staff & volunteers, community groups, campaigners and social entrepreneurs to help them understand the power of digital.

He was named as one of Holyrood’s ‘Tech 100’ for driving forward the digital agenda in Scotland and has been the heart of discussions around digital inclusion. As well as his work with Third Sector Lab; Ross volunteers with Foundation Scotland, helping funders better understand their role within the digital agenda.

DL South East


Louize Clarke, Director of ConnectTVT & indigo loop, Hub Mum GROW@GreenPark

Louize launched ConnectTVT to connect the Thames Valley’s tech & digital dots and created GROW@GreenPark a vibrant co-working space to build a self-fulfilling and collaborative ecosystem for Reading and the wider area. She is passionate about educating everyone about STEAM, fostering skills and inspiring untapped talent towards digital careers.

DL South West


Andrew Henning, CEO of Redweb

Andrew is the founder and CEO of Redweb, the largest digital agency on the South Coast and a two-time recipient of eConsultancy’s – Most Innovative Agency award. Andrew is also on the Executive Committee of BIMA (The British Interactive Media Association) and through this role, created their Digital Day initiative: a national event that encourages digital agencies to spend a day in their local school, working with its pupils.   To date over 10,000 young people have participated.

Closer to home, over the past two years Andrew and his team have put a substantial amount of energy into launching Digital Wave, a one-day conference that brings together 800+ young people, aged between 14 – 18, in order to spend a day being inspired by some of the digital industry’s brightest minds. It’s an event that has a positive impact on the younger generation of Bournemouth and beyond. 

DL Wales

derekh Derek Hobbs, Head of Operational Digital Services at DWP

Derek is very involved and a massive aid to the DL Wales region, chairing most sessions and always involving himself in organisation of the events. He also does an excellent job of following up with delegates and all in all trying to encourage Digital change within the Welsh public sector.

Digital Leaders Wales sits alongside Digital Tuesday and the Annual Digital Wales conference and serves as an independent focal point of engagement and resource network for individuals and organisations across Wales who are committed to delivering sustainable and innovative digital transformation. Dl Wales has a growing number of members and attendees, a great mix of public, private and education sector and have covered a wide range of topics from the vital Digital Skills to the Semantic Web.

DL West Midlands


Tracy Westall, Director of Corporate Services / the UK Public Sector Director at SCC

In her role as Corporate Services Director at SCC, Tracy Westall is responsible for supplier and partner management and procurement, public sector policy, business performance, marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility. Tracy was previously responsible for running SCC’s Public Sector business for more than 20 years and under her leadership the business grew to become a £350 million operation with 100+ staff. 

Tracy sits on the Main Board for TechUK, leading on the topic of Devolution, and has also sat on the Boards of Birmingham Science City and Smart City Alliance. She remains on the Board of Directors for Birmingham City University and the Smart City Commission.

Most recently, Tracy has chaired the IT Sub Group for the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), taking a lead on ICT and spearheading their focus on web development, and is a former executive director for GBSLEP, focused on economic growth, development and innovation.

DL Yorkshire  

chris spencerChris Spencer CEO at EMIS Group Plc

Christopher Spencer is recognised for his thought leadership in e-health innovation for healthcare professionals and forward-thinking perspective for the EMIS medical software Group.

Chris has nearly 35 years of experience of general management and leadership, software (specification, design, development, project management, implementation, marketing and sales) within the healthcare, legal and educational sectors both as a founder of his own companies and a senior manager in established companies. His roles at EMIS Group since joining in 1999 include Commercial Development Director, Group Legal Counsel, Chief Administrative Officer and interim CEO.

To find out more please contact the regional managers in every region.

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