Digital Leaders UK has just announced that Patrick Melia has been recognised nationally as one of the top three digital leaders in the UK in the renowned Digital Leaders 100 Awards 2021.

With over 23,000 votes this year, it was a highly competitive race for a position in the final. The top three frontrunners publicly announced today [4th November] are:

  • Patrick Melia, Chief Executive at Sunderland City Council
  • Polly Cook, Head of Service Transformation at Parkinson’s Connect
  • Lara Burns, Chief Digital Officer at Scouts

Firmly placed in the country’s top three, Patrick’s leadership, determination and inclusive direction is gaining traction way beyond the boundaries of our smart city with a place in the final.

Proudly representing Sunderland and the , this exceptional result is testament to Patrick’s unwavering determination to digitally equip residents and businesses across the city with the infrastructure, skills and opportunities to excel in today’s technologically-fluent landscape.

To decide the final winner in each category, Digital Leaders hosted a virtual judging day on 2nd November in their virtual space, the #DigiLounge, where each finalist had a chance to pitch to the judging panel and aid their final decision on an overall winner in each category.

The winners in each category, and those placed second and third, will be announced as part of the ninth annual Digital Leaders 100 Awards on 11th November.

Since the initial deployment of ultrafast 5G-ready WiFi zones across the city in December 2019, the growth of Sunderland as a leading smart city and Patrick’s resolute commitment to working smart and collaboratively have accelerated Sunderland’s digital transformation journey.

The award for Digital Leader of the Year recognises the importance of leadership in driving forward digital transformation and the individuals shortlisted stand out as transformative in their sector, local area and indeed in stepping up the UK’s digital capabilities.

Shaping Sunderland as a digitally focused and collaborative place to thrive, where everyone can benefit from the opportunities of the digital era and no-one or nowhere is left behind are key drivers in Sunderland’s City Plan, spearheaded by chief executive, Patrick Melia.

2021 has seen Patrick gain national influence and international recognition for Sunderland, via numerous successful initiatives and enhanced digital outcomes. Patrick led Sunderland to win Smart City of the Year 2020 in the DL100 Awards, as well as being appointed to the UK5G Advisory Board and claiming a position as Co-chair of the Regional Coordination Group leading on the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

Patrick and Sunderland City Council were also recognised for its forward-thinking approach at the Connected Britain Awards in September, winning Digital Council of the Year 2021.

Transatlantic visibility was achieved via the Harvard Innovation Award 2020 (Europe) win for transformation through technology within health and social care for the SHEILA app, a healthtech innovation transforming adult social care across the city.

Passionate about digital transformation within the organisation as well as across the city, Patrick also implemented the ‘Thinking differently’ initiative at Sunderland City Council to introduce new processes to empower leaders at all levels of the organisation to utilise smart technology and digital enhancements to realise efficiencies and improve outcomes for teams and communities.

Patrick, said: “Since winning Smart City of the Year at last year’s Digital Leaders 100 Awards, our ambitious digital agenda has continued to drive forward digital transformation across our smart city.

“To receive personal recognition of my role alongside the ongoing efforts of countless colleagues and partners, is truly an honour and a humbling illustration of the impact of our collaborative success.”

Announced in October 2021, a new 5G network will realise Sunderland City Council’s ambition to be a digitally enabled, UK smart city leader as BAI Communications build a new 5G centric network.

This next generation 5G mobile infrastructure puts Sunderland on track to become one of the UK’s most advanced smart cities equipped to support individuals, communities and businesses to leverage digital opportunities, preparing them to compete and more effectively handle what the future holds.

Patrick added: “We continue driving digital projects across Sunderland at pace, to embed an augmented digital infrastructure and provide the foundations for future inward investment, as well as and enhanced quality of life for people living and working in the city.”

Digital Leaders is a global initiative that has created a shared professional space for senior leadership from different sectors promoting effective, long-term digital transformation. Their community of 120,000 senior leaders are involved in leveraging technology to promote economic growth, increase social well-being and narrow social gaps.

Digital Leaders’ DL100 list is created by public vote and celebrates the teams and individuals who are working hard behind the scenes to secure the UK’s Digital Transformation. Track the progress of the awards, check out all the finalists and stay up-to-date here.

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