The North is United at Connected Britain 2022

Liverpool 5G Health & Social Care Lead Ann Williams, Commissioner and Contract Manager at Liverpool City Council, was part of the Connected Britain panel discussing ‘Delivering the UK’s digital healthcare revolution’, which looked at how advanced connectivity could lead to better outcomes within healthcare.

Prior to this discussion, several L5G project partners attended a talk by Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, in which he announced a social housing pilot which would see mobile connectivity provided to residents via free Vodafone SIM cards. Identifying the impacts of the digital divide, Mayor Burnham said: “With regard to digital connectivity… it is one of the essential utilities that people have to have, and if you don’t have it then your life is, in many ways, held back.”

The similarities between the aims of this pilot and the Liverpool 5G: Connecting Health and Social Care project are clear. Both projects understand the importance of connectivity for communities, and recognise how the digital divide can serve to increase inequalities, and the impact on those for whom the current cost of connectivity is prohibitive.

Following the speech, which discussed the aspirations for Manchester to lessen the digital divide, and provide struggling communities with connectivity, Ann Williams, of the Liverpool 5G Leadership Team, raised the challenges encountered with the Green Book Business Case, and asked for Mayor Burnham’s support in resolving these issues – which he wholeheartedly gave. It is clear the region shares the same concerns about the way the Green Book Business Case is structured, which means supporting a higher quality of living, and social value, is hard to account for as these benefits cannot be financially quantified.

Despite the issue raised being met with such enthusiasm that it took up the whole timeslot allocated for questions, the discussion didn’t end there. Mayor Burnham later shared his enthusiasm for the Liverpool 5G project and congratulated the team on the good work done so far. He suggested Liverpool and Manchester team up with other Northern Cities to promote a 100% connectivity agenda.

It was great to receive such support from a variety of organisations at the event, and acknowledgements that this trailblazing project has real value. As the Liverpool 5G: Connecting Health and Social Care project comes to an end at the end of September, it’s an exciting time as Liverpool 5G looks towards future plans and expansions – watch this space!