Tech City: Hackney Council looks to harness tech talent

Cllr Guy Nicholson

Cllr Guy Nicholson - Credit: Archant

Hackney council is harnessing the tech talent on its doorstep by launching a groundbreaking event to help improve public services.

A 24-hour hack event called Hack-ney-thon will challenge leading Tech City creatives to find innovative software solutions and hacks for two categories which the council believes it can improve.

Participants will focus on ideas for streamlining the online registration of births, marriages and deaths and notifying interested parties of available commercial properties.

The initiative is part of the council’s work with local organisations and is in partnership with tech companies Minibarlabs, Poke, Publicis UK and the Trampery, as well as Tech City UK.

Guy Nicholson, Hackney Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The idea is fundamentally to bring forward ideas, systems and software packages that could be applied to those different areas of activity in a way which could withstand public use as well as ensuring a council can use the software.

“Also, from a local government perspective, to be able to update information as it changes over time so things are kept fresh and relevant.”

The winning solution will be judged for its design, usability and how it will improve the lives of Hackney residents and the programme will be used and championed by the council.

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Cllr Nicholson said: “The prestigious title is the ‘Hackney Hacker’, but on a serious note, we will take it to wider local government and around the country as perhaps a useful device for them.

“It is perhaps a slightly different approach to improving public services.

“We are stepping into new territory both as the council and creative tech industry but there seems to have been a great appetite for it and a real sense of excitement about what might actually come out at the end of the weekend.”

Cllr Nicholson continued: “The council has been working with many businesses based in the creative tech economy and alongside events such as the Hack-ney-thon there has come various collaborations with apprenticeships, pathways into jobs and how we can invest into the school’s curriculum with the language of computer, so there is quite a lot on the go. Plus the fact there is the wider economy including hospitality and manufacturing.

“One thing we are very clear about is that the creative tech sector is going to play a central role in our borough - it already is – and the rest of the country.”

Hack-ney-thon is open to the public and takes place at the Trampery in Old Street from Saturday at 9.30am to Sunday at 4pm. To book a ticket, visit