Friday, 11 December 2009

One more week to go, and I'll be driving home for Christmas

Approaching the end of another week, how on earth do they keep coming around so quickly? As I reported earlier I began with a trip to London to meet with Intellect about our joint Intellect/Socitm IT Excellence awards (if you are not familiar with the Socitm Intellect partnership visit here ) The discussions were very positive and I would expect to be seeing a new style award and significantly higher profile at our 2010 event, something that our membership board (later in the week) agreed with. Then, what used to be the ProfIT Alliance (who or what is that I hear you all say....) – Ok, it is a group of organisations such as BCS, Cabinet Office, e Skills, Socitm, IET, etc etc you are involved with the development of professionalism in IT – yeah, that group – well it has change from one ‘brand’ nobody has really heard of to another brand nobody has heard of – yet!
Anyway, I was at the first meeting of the newly renamed Partners in Professionalism (not allowed to call it by the obvious acronym that everybody is going to use...that’s PiP then....) and I have to say that as far as desire to do something and positive aspirations are concerned we have them aplenty. We even have a next stage plan of action to move forward with the work. I hope, and dare to think, that you may be hearing more about this group as it may become a significant ‘coordinating force’ across the still too confusing professionalism agenda (I realise there are a few too many ‘mays’ in that sentence to crack open the champers just yet, but I am ever the optimist).

Well, that’s Monday sorted, oh apart from the GITP Service Delivery competency group meeting and meal later that evening. I know it is a bit of a dull government type name – but it is a great group who are really concerned with delivery and the skills required to actually get stuff delivered effectively and efficiently. They are a group that we have been working with for some time, exploring areas of common interest, and a group with whom we look forward to greater collaboration in the future. Plus it was a cracking meal which the Society helped to ‘sponsor’.

On Tuesday I left my usual London base for a foray into Birmingham for one of our managers meetings. Although not one of our ‘formal’ governance groups it is a great forum to coordinate activities, policy and planning across all of our streams. It is attended by our business managers, Heads of Membership and Policy, Communications, Finance director and me and is a very productive time. We met at the Priory meeting rooms in Birmingham (a Quaker place) which is highly recommended. Then, beginning to get withdrawal symptoms from London, it was back on a train with DH (Finance director) where we began a business strategy and planning meeting covering our key areas of business.......this continued across Euston, down Woburn Place and into the hotel bar, quick refreshment, then it went on down Southampton Row, past the British Museum and finally came to rest in a Japanese eatery....where it found new life and the meeting went on. And Wednesday arrived.

Wednesday was our Membership Board meeting, and very good it was. We have a great group on this board normally chaired by Rose Crozier, but as she was on leave, we had a sort of double act between our new Head of Membership, Ellen Jessett (I wonder when I should stop calling her our ‘new Head of Membership’?) and Bernard Gudgin. They really should be on the stage... We heard from Ellen who is, to coin a phrase, really putting herself about in terms of visiting members and regional meetings so if you have not seen her yet, you will. Living in the extremities will be no excuse, she will find you. Also from Ellen we were updated on the progress towards new ‘professional’ membership categories and, from Bernard, about the successful mentoring pilot scheme we are running. We also heard from Scott Mansfield, this year’s Graham Williamson Challenge (GWC) winner and his planned trip to Australia (and maybe New Zealand) to look at and compare a number of issues around the use of IT , online learning, disaster response and other interesting areas. For those who don’t know, the GWC is a travel award that we make each year to someone at the beginning of their IT career. Candidates submit their plans and a panel selects a successful applicant who then packs his or her bags and goes to distant parts to look at all thing IT. It’s a great opportunity. Which is exactly what I did after the board meeting – well expect for the bag packing and IT bits – OK I travelled north, which, it seems, qualifies as ‘distant parts’ to most people in ‘the south’. Thursday was one of those valuable ‘work from home’ (or in my case my local cafe) days writing reports and getting on top of e mails.

As I sit writing this I am in Starbucks outside Newcastle station where I am waiting to meet up with Ellen Jessett our new (oh, you get it) who has turned her sights northward to Socitm North East. We are going a little mob handed today with Ellen, myself and our President, Steve Palmer all attending. For my part it has nothing to do with drinks in the Strawberry afterwards, honest. I need to explain, I’ll stop short of apologising because it may only be the fizzy pop league but we are at the top of it, that I am a Newcastle fan and Socitm NE are meeting at the Cathedral of St James (which now, apart from having a laughable owner also has a laughable name – its the....sorry I can’t bring myself to write it). You may find it on Google, although I am rather hoping that Google do a deal with the people of Newcastle, much like the one they did with the Chinese regime,...and remove any reference to certain things.

A certain sense of pride here in achieving a little personal goal by not mentioning the re-emerging MP’s expenses fiasco, until now!


  1. Well, having subsidised Chris's new car, it seems he's giving me £400 towards my new boiler. So who cares that, as well as doing nothing about our dire state of indebtedness, and protecting a dogmatic and failing education system, he's cutting funding on the elderly - what have they ever done for us anyway? Keep giving me the cash; to hell with the deserving!

  2. richard, you're such an enigma :-)


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