Friday, 12 February 2010

Tomorrow's public services and ICT strategies

Despite the 05:15 start on Monday morning, it was a great week.....

Monday was pretty full, and began with a meeting of our full 'management' team. This team includes the various heads of service, our business managers and marketing /PR and is very much the 'workhorse' of the Society in terms of getting stuff done. The remit of the group is broad and generally informal but focussed upon making the most of our combined resources to offer more effective service and support to our members. We looked at key messages from Insight and Consulting as well as the central policy themes and messages for the coming year. There are some interesting, if slightly worrying trends coming from our study of local authority web capability, but watch out for the launch of Better Connected on March 1st for more information on this.

We are continuing to develop our work on 'Tomorrow's (local) public services' and are focussing particularly on the links between this over arching policy and the Council of the Future work that is being developed and refined. Our National (spring) Conference on April 22 (https://www.socitm.net/events/event/87/ ) will pick up and further develop some of these themes. You can subscribe to an RSS feed and receive information about all Socitm Events
We also discussed some significant moves towards new membership and grading structures within the Society that will be a great step in our pursuit of professionalism. work continues on these and will be put before members at our AGM on April 22 (at the National Conference). We are continuing to develop a 'corporate membership offering' for both public / third and private sectors so watch this space for more news on these initiatives.

Talking of the Third Sector, Socitm has for some time now been developing its relationship with the third sector through our merger with CITRA (http://www.citra.org.uk/) and this week this particular alliance has been rebranded as Socitm Third Sector - see http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/it/news/content/6003/charity_it_alliance_announces_steering_group
There is a lot of important and exciting work going on within this sector and particularly our ability to speak with a common voice over issues of mutual concern (note our comments on the Government ICT Strategy coming up later .....)
With the start of our Head of Commercial, Karl Grundy, (karl.grundy@socitm.net ) comes a renewed focus on our supplier member community. As full members of the Society we acknowledge the different, but often overlapping, needs of this sector and are now actively developing new opportunities for engagement, partnerships and high value opportunities. Our Head of IA, Mark Brett, (mark.brett@socitm.gov.uk ) is very actively involved in many areas - but apparently he can't tell me what they are or he will have to kill me! Seriously, we, through Mark, are deeply involved with work in this increasingly important area on behalf of our membership. Security issues will feature 'large' in some key initiatives such as PSN and
G Cloud.
We have also published our response to the Government ICT Strategy this week and you can find it here
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Following the managers meeting it was straight into a meeting with the Socitm Consulting management team to discuss our ongoing business development plans and particularly how we can develop our work across the Society in a less silo'd more integrated way. I am hopeful of real progress here.

Then it was straight to Waterloo for a workshop that was run with Socitm Consulting in conjunction with Cap Gemini looking at future service delivery. The event began with a meal somewhere near France (I think it was Weybridge!!) at which Andrew Stott shared the honours of speaking along with Pierre Hessler .

It was a good start to what turned out to be an excellent workshop the following day. We were hosted by Cap Gemini at their Woking HQ, in their ASE - Accelerated Solutions Environment and it was without doubt one of the most effective and productive workshop environments I have encountered. One of the many interesting areas we considered was that of ICT delivering real benefits out in the frontline service areas, the value of which, in terms of effectiveness AND savings generated was not realised within the core ICT function but, where it should be, at the front line. This is great - but only if there is a means to measure and attribute that value and ensure that the 'cut the ICT service to cut costs' brigade doesn't have its unsophisticated way. There will be opportunity to share the outputs with members very soon so I will keep people informed.

Returning to London I prepared for our Membership Board the following day. This turned out to be a very important meeting in which we made some great strides towards clarifying our new membership structures. The debate was stimulating and very beneficial. I believe it will, in the future, be viewed as one of the key milestones in our development as a professional organisation. At this meeting we also heard good news about our mentoring scheme and our ongoing work with the Cabinet Office and the GITP.

Read the full Socitm blog at: http://www.socitm.net/blog/socitmblog

And that, other than trying to deal with a staggering backlog of e mails, was pretty much that......now it's time for the weekend. to end on a light note, have you ever wondered how the stock market really works? See: http://www.burnabrain.com/how-stockmarket-works/

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