Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Richard's Last...

Well, this is my final post to the Socitm President’s Blog as the President. I will continue a public Blog at and the ComputerWorldUK and CIO Magazine sites will also continue to carry my ramblings.

In my Stoneleigh conference opening address I’ll be remarking on a busy year, but looking ahead. We are investing in our future – with today’s appointment of a Head of Policy, planned appointments of a Head of Information Assurance, commercial developments, our rebranding, the launch of our new website, continued work with Government on key issues, such as secure public sector infrastructure, the launch, at the Society’s Edinburgh Conference, of our professional development programme and working more effectively with our Members through the regions.

I’m glad to take this final opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous support given by Socitm’s staff in Northampton, board colleagues, the Events Team, colleagues in Consulting, Insight and Boilerhouse and, of course, the Society’s membership – our lifeblood and reason for being.

My best wishes to the new President for a successful year in building and sustaining our influence on behalf of members. I look forward to continuing to work with the Team and to support, as Past President, and in whatever other capacity I’m able to!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Socitm's Patron

I took a camera to Birmingham, intending to take photos at the Consulting event, but forgot, as I often do. Chris isn’t very happy, as she is making a scrap-book of my year as Socitm President, but I keep failing to provide her with material!

I remembered the camera as I skirted Parliament Square, today, for an information Assurance Events Advisory Board meeting at One Birdcage Walk, so took a picture of the continuing Tamil demonstration (but then thought better of publishing it!)

There is now a website for the UK’s Information Assurance Community, which includes events information, and a link to IA09, on 6th & 7th July. It’s hoped for a good attendance from Local Government, this year, and we already have two bookings – double last year’s number!

After the IAEAB meeting, I went on to The Adelphi, in John Adam Street, for an “Ocean & PSN Workshop”, chaired by Philip Littleavon, to plan a two day event to promote engagement with the Public Services Network developments by the Local Public Sector. We were joined by representatives of Buying Solutions, the DWP, Cabinet Office, and Vic Freir and Mark Brett on behalf of Socitm.

We decided the event will take place on 15th/ 16th September, probably at the School of Government, in Sunningdale, and target the Local CIO Council and its members’ Heads of Finance to ensure effective financial planning.

Whilst this won’t be a technical event, it’s important we are able to effectively articulate the Public Services Network rationale, and the Ocean Programme’s role. We’ll undertake further work in this regard, ahead of the event, and it’s important we use the opportunity for the local public sector to influence the PSN specification and requirements – especially in areas like flexible working and digital convergence. The work planned last Thursday, on pan-Government security vision, and a single Information Governance model for Government, will hopefully play into this work.

They’ll be a high-profile keynote address, and facilitated streams covering topics such as the Business Case, “Thorny Issues”, the Network and Security. The report-back from the Gartner Benchmark study of Government Connect value versus alternatives will (hopefully) support the case for investment.

You may remember that Lord Anthony St John of Bletso last year hosted a Socitm London Branch meeting at the House of Lords on behalf of 2e2 – our sponsor (and is again doing so, this year, on 7th May). This evening I met Lord Anthony with Terry Burt, 2e2’s Managing Director, and Andre Tytheridge, to discuss Socitm patronage. He entertained us to drinks in the Peers’ Guests Room and, I’m delighted to say, has agreed to become our first Patron! As Socitm’s Patron, Lord Anthony will promote our cause and introduce us to Ministers and Senior Civil Servants when the opportunities arise, when appropriate, will ask questions in the House on our behalf, and host occasional events in the House of Lords. He becomes an honorary member of the Society and will support and facilitate our developing Policy agenda and lobbying for effective Transformational Government Policy.

Lord Anthony is an enthusiastic supporter of ICT as an enabler of efficient Government, and of Community engagement through ICT and, until recently, chaired UK Citizens Online. I’m very grateful to our friends from 2e2 for the introduction.

Considering Consulting

A major pile-up on the M1 delayed my arrival, on Sunday evening, to a Socitm Consulting Conference held at the Radisson SAS Hotel in Birmingham.

This was the first consultants’ get together in quite a while. Apart from the networking opportunity, the event was arranged to consider how the business will be taken forward in the future and, in particular:

· To identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current model.
· To identify options for the future ownership, management and governance of Consulting.
· To begin to evaluate these options and arrive at a short list of those that should be considered further, with a view to reaching a decision later in 2009 as to the future direction of the business.

Adrian, David Houston and I attended from Socitm Limited, as we were keen to demonstrate our support and offer input on behalf of the Society. (Also, the Society co-funded the event!) A “core team” of 50ish consultants were invited to the event, most of whom (45) were able to attend. (Socitm Consulting has around 150 consultants in total.)

The evening started with a drinks reception, but we had to do some work to earn our Sunday dinner. Doug presented an overview of the business, and then each table was asked to consider what improvements in the Consulting operation were required and what worked well and certainly should not be changed. Communications came-in for some stick; it always does on such occasions! However, a number of opportunities for improvement were identified. We also discovered that some of our correspondence was being blocked in the spam filter of the 1&1 system used by some consultants, which is centrally managed! The things that consultants decided should not change were the Consulting brand, ethos and quality.

Monday was given over to a mixture of break-out sessions and feedbacks considering questions such as –

· Who should own the business?
· Who should direct the business?
· How could we create a structure that Socitm can engage with on a long-term basis? (The current agreement is to a three-year contract.)
· How should the consultant roles be structured?

Over the course of the day, the wish for a symbiotic relationship with Socitm was confirmed. A majority of consultants favoured participation in the ownership in the business, and a majority also favoured greater participation in the management of the business. Eighteen people volunteered to work with Doug and Vikki to develop how these objectives could be achieved. One of the issues for us both (Socitm and Socitm Consulting) to consider is whether/ how to raise capital to invest in growing the business.

A great many other issues were covered but, as I’m sure you can appreciate a lot of our discussion was “commercial in confidence”.

We finished just before 5.00 pm, and a small group of us went off in search of real ale, rather than join the throng at the hotel bar. We were taken to “The Wellington”, which for proper beer drinkers is an experience not to be missed! Then, back to the hotel for dinner and a competition between the tables for the most amusing tale of past experience. Chatham House rules, of course!

I was up at 4.30 am on Tuesday for the drive back to London, a quick catch-up and the day’s meetings.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

If you Tweet it, they will come...

David Pogue found a good use for Twitter.

I worked from home, on Friday, spending half my time on a report to the Mayor concerning the liquidation of Caboodle.

Further to yesterday’s post about the “ Naming & Approvals Council”, the following graph gives a breakdown if applications received in the last 3+ years, and is followed by a breakdown of the reasons for rejection over the last 3 months.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Aiming for Rational Government!

I was back at Russell Square House for my first appointment, today, in a Socitm Intellect LG Forum Management Committee – the first, I believe that I’ve been able to make as Socitm President, and definitely the last!

Potential Thought Leadership work was on the agenda. Carla had drawn-up a short paper, from the context of “as suppliers of technology, Intellect members are uniquely positioned to provide an expert view of how technology can be put to better use in order to contribute to the first-class provision of public services in local government” - to provoke our thoughts on issues such as “what will Local Government look like in 10 years?” There was consensus on some of the immediate issues, including public sector aggregated procurement/ asset reuse, the role of the CIO and pervasive & unified community infrastructure.

Among the planned future Forum themes are “E-Government 10 years on” (18th November). I volunteered Priya to present the conclusions from her MBA Thesis on the subject, which she has just embarked upon.

David Pullinger, the COI’s Head of Digital Policy, again attended the start of today’s Naming and Approvals Committee meeting at Hercules House to give us an update on progress and take any questions. He told us that just over 50%, nearly 700, of the websites that were planned to be closed now have been, with commitments to close another 355. The COI is now getting a good grip on, and controlling Government web presence more effectively. Committee members were thanked for their contribution to this important work. The Team was now starting to tackle other Government domains, such as NHS, MOD and Police.

David’s erudite response to my question about the raison d’ĂȘtre for our work, given the power of search (see my Idle Thoughts on 19th March) persuaded me that it is indeed worthwhile. Whilst accepting that search engines are becoming ever more sophisticated and accurate, our work on audience focus, editorial policy and manageability – typically material that’s transferred to DirectGov is reduced to a tenth of its original volume - facilitates reduced bureaucracy and the promotion of trust in government. Tests have shown that DirectGov is now achieving higher trust levels that names like Tesco and the BBC. I mentioned that among our biggest challenges are appeals about requested use of acronyms that cite precedents. Whilst accepting that this can create some consternation, David was clear that precedents don’t count. The Naming & Standards Guidance is now our bible to help achieve consistency and coherence. He often asks people in Government to explain their own acronyms – and they often fail!

David was also asked about policy on portals, such as “My….”. Work on these was being undertaken by the CTO Council, linked to ID Management, with a particular view to avoiding the need for multiple log-ons. There is a “Contact Council”, also, undertaking work in this area - on intermediaries.

The major discussion item for the Committee was a paper covering:

· The maintenance of domain names in perpetuity. A study in 2007 revealed that 60% of the URLs cited in Hansard are broken links leading to 404 errors or ‘Page not found’. To solve this problem, COI has recently introduced new guidance on managing URLs[1] (TG125) which requires central government departments, executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies to maintain all Web domains in perpetuity. This is possible even after a website has closed by maintaining the domain name and implementing redirection to The National Archives. Any public facing websites are to become part of the national archive as part of the public record and, henceforth, all requests for central government cancellations will therefore be referred to the COI.

· All domains that do not comply with eligibility criteria are to be removed. We believe there are quite a few which may have resulted from an organisation’s change of status, or as a result of guidelines having changed or not having been adhered to in the past. Socitm was cited as an example, but there are others, such as It was agreed that all current domain names will be reviewed for eligibility, and that JANET (originally “Joint Academic Network) which is responsible for the administration and registration of domain names, should refer to COI renewals where the continued existence is not obvious. Ninety days be allowed to enable redirects of disqualified websites to their new domains before the DNS (Domain Name System for mapping IP addresses to websites) is withdrawn.

· The current list of central government websites – used in the Website Rationalisation project – contains a sizeable proportion (~25%) of non-government domains (e.g. .org, etc). There are also examples of government domains redirecting outside the domain. It was agreed to review the current list of domain names within 6 months, and to review the current website rationalisation list and, where sites are not already due to close, insist on them being reregistered on

There are, apparently, 3,955 domains at present; 147 were due for renewal in April.

In the afternoon, I met with Paul Davidson (Director of LeGSB) Mark Brett and Adrian Hancock to discuss consolidation of Information Governance Models for Local Government – of which there are many! Paul listed the following, but there are others:

· The CESG Information Assurance Maturity Model
· The LeGSB Information Governance Toolkit.
· The Adult Social Care Information Governance Toolkit.
· The DWP MoU for access to CIS.
· The CoCo for GCSx.
· The Data Handling Guidelines.

We couldn’t see why we should need more than one across all of the public sector. Applicability would depend upon a User’s role in Government. This, of course, is linked to the requirement for an overarching vision for pan-Government security. At the present, our silo’d Government departments each reinvent its own requirements in ignorance of others’, and Local Government is expected to struggle to cope with them all. Not acceptable! We therefore determined to organise ourselves to campaign for a more rational approach that starts with the pan-Government security vision. This will include requirements for accreditation of secure network access right across Government.

Some other issues fell-out of this discussion – including articulation of requirements for organisational Information Asset Registers, which also facilitate requirements such as Rights Management and the several other related data management requirements (such as spatial data) which currently seem to have their own management bodies acting independently of one another.

An issue for Socitm was how can we ensure our member representatives to Government Quangos are effectively supported by paid officers who will ensure that actions and decisions made in meetings are taken-forward?

We agreed to plan a day in which the morning will be dedicated to developing earlier work on engaging wider public sector stakeholders in building and lobbying for sign-up to the required pan-Government vision, and a workshop, in the afternoon, will determine Information Asset Register, linked to Information Reuse, requirements. Recruitment of volunteers for a “Psikey” pilot will also be covered.

In the evening I joined Adrian and Rose for dinner with four of the short-listed applicants for the Socitm Head of Policy position. They are being interviewed, tomorrow, by a panel comprising Steve Palmer (incoming President) Rose Crozier (HR Director) and Adrian Hancock I(Managing Director). The fifth candidate is on holiday, and will be interviewed during the course of next week’s Socitm Spring National Conference.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

On getting our own houses in order...

Most of my day was spent at Russell Square House. Adrian and I met with Stuart Roberts and Richard Paugh of the Corporate Executive Board, in the morning, to consider options for partnership with its CIO Practice Area. In the afternoon, we met Spencer Green and Richard Owen from GDS International, considering possibilities for working with its MeettheBoss networking channel. Both meetings were follow-ups to earlier meetings I had with representatives of those organisations, with a view to potentially setting-up an executive stream within Socitm to facilitate ICT leadership and executive engagement, and ensure that we do not compromise the Society’s IT management legacy as we grow our support for the wider profession.

There were attractions in working with both organisations. The CIO Executive Board was particularly strong in executive insight, networking and analysis, whilst the MeettheBoss format uses Web 2.0 technologies effectively to support networking in a disparate environment. Adrian and Steve Jones have also had discussions with Learning Pool, in a wider Society context.

The next, critical, stage is to develop the financial and business models for consideration by Socitm’s Board and NAC.

Then, Mark Brett joined Adrian and me to discuss his role in conjunction with our forthcoming appointment of a Socitm Head of Policy. Mark’s work on Information Assurance has been invaluable for Socitm and, frankly, has been largely self-directed, and its worth has not been truly appreciated. (So far as we’re aware, Mark is currently our only CLAS Consultant.) Some of the activity Mark has undertaken for us will become part of the new appointee’s role, but Adrian and I were keen to take the opportunity to use Mark’s expertise to formalise effective resourcing of Information Assurance and Security policy and requirements through a Head of Information Assurance role - through which to further build our capabilities in this area. We therefore used the session to develop a better understanding of the IA/ Security scene, with a view to further developing proposals.

I’m not an avid follower of Sitemorse, but couldn’t help noticing the reference, in its recent newsletter, to the frequency with which some of the LGA’s recently proscribed words can be found on its own website! “A number of the banned words were found when looking at some of their website pages, worse offender being worklessness, which occurred nearly 100 times, other culprits included; spatial, framework, initiative.”

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A Hectic Three Weeks...

Today’s Socitm Board Meeting, at Camden Town Hall, was my last as President and Chair.
As always, the minutes will be published in due course, but some noteworthy items were:

· A revised base budget for 2009 was agreed, which provides for some investment from reserves to fully cover financial implications of expenditure agreed in resourcing policy and commercial development requirements.
· Adrian, David and I will be attending a Socitm Consulting Conference, at the beginning of next week, to get to know the Team, discuss further development of the business and share our plans, hopes and aspirations for the Society.
· Adrian presented a paper proposing organisational changes to support commercial and business development. This involved utilising Socitm Services Limited (SSL) which Socitm still owns but has been inactive, for all trading activities. SSL, as a company limited by shares, is the appropriate body for commercial developments, whilst membership services should continue to reside in Socitm Limited, which is limited by guarantee. We agreed that the Commercial Board should further develop the proposition.
· We also discussed the status of discussions on business partnerships. We agreed that we now have a good understanding of the ways in which we should work with business partners and that there is strong interest from a number of businesses in entering partnerships. The main concern, ‘though, was in ensuring that we are able to resource effective account management and ensure that we fully deliver the outcomes we commit to - a “chicken and egg” situation. We agreed to finance some additional work to develop that capability and generate the confidence to enter partnership opportunities as soon as possible.
· We also discussed our structure and branding to facilitate the different sectoral focuses that are evolving within Socitm, and the suggestion that there should be a “parent company” with sector-specific subsidiaries covering CITRA, web management etc. It was agreed that Adrian and I would develop the proposition, consulting Vicky on branding considerations (one of which is our transition to the .net domain).
· Sadly, the CMS development has further slipped, and I definitely won’t be able to present the “look and feel” at next week’s AGM, as I had hoped to! We agreed action to ensure the development is fully completed ahead of the annual conference, when we also aim to have completed structural proposals to support membership and professional development, which the CMS will be needed to support.
· There were a number of actions to be taken forward through a number of key meetings that are scheduled in the next three weeks – meeting of the National Advisory Council, the Membership and Commercial Boards and, of course, next week’s conference and AGM.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Aide Memoire

You may remember that I’m an admirer of New York Times columnist, David Pogue. (In fact, now I thought of it, I’ve added a link to his Blog – “Pogue’s Posts”.) His most recent video is about a “memory tool” called “reQall”. I’ve got the world’s worst memory – especially when it comes to remembering things to do with my personal life that I need to do in the working day – make a Doctor/ Dentist appointment, book a car service, buy a present etc – so I’m giving ReQall a try.

Yesterday I met Richard Quarrell at the IOD Hub in New Broad Street, and discussed progress with the Psikey development. A new version of Psider (the tool to produce Pskey) is being produced by the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at Southampton University, and will be available in a couple of weeks. The plan, then, is to test through the summer with a view to producing a production version in September. I’ll be meeting Paul Davidson and Ian Cooper, next week, and hope, with them, to identify prospective pilot sites. Richard will be at the Socitm National Spring Conference on 23rd April, which is where Richard Allan will be presenting on Government policy on reuse of information, and available to talk with interested parties about the project.

After lunch I went to 59 ½ Southwark Street for a Socitm/ Capital Ambition planning meeting, with Steve Pennant, Roland Waterhouse, David Tidey and Ray Whitehouse, for this year’s London Local Authority IT Benchmarking Survey. Many of the standard Socitm benchmark questions already align with the Authority-wide benchmark survey being developed by Capital Ambition (London’s RIEP), which is also developing a set of “Leading Practice Principles”. I suggested to Steve that CA looks at Socitm’s recent “What’s in a name?” report regarding suggested IT principles.

IT benchmarking is becoming more challenging in our converged and flexible world, and we recognised, also, the need to focus increasingly on benchmarking outcomes, rather than inputs. It was apparent that we can’t move very far in that direction this year, but agreed much of the work to be done for future years, and are looking at potential quick wins, this year, including whether we can include a Data Quality Survey based on the work led by Brent Council.

Since I’m very much concerned both with digital convergence and broadband wireless developments, this story, of Westminster City Council’s use of CCTV for traffic management, caught my interest, and will be interested to follow the outcome.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

If you build it, they will come!

There were still Tamil protesters on the green as I crossed Parliament Square for the third day running, this week, to attend another meeting chaired by Tim Allen at the LGA. We were to discuss marketing and communications, business processes, roles and responsibilities related to the role-out of the proposed public sector licensing agreement. Details are still embargoed, but Andrew Gibson of “Buying Solutions” (as the former OGC Buying Solutions is now to be known), who was there along with Nathan Morgan, promised to call me as soon as Nigel Smith (OGC Chief Executive) has signed the contract, when I’m free to Blog it!

Then to Steria’s offices at Holborn for a final Caboodle Board meeting - to agree the filing of the Company’s accounts, and to recommend to shareholders the winding-up of the Company.

In this week’s “Local Government IT in Use”, Michael Cross wonders why public sector organisations find it so hard to learn from each other - especially when it comes to the implementation of new technology. To quite a large extent I agree with him, although I do think the scene is changing fast - q.v. many of the developments that I’ve been blogging about this year, which are genuinely innovative, market moving and will finally give substance to all the hype around shared services. I’d like to think that Socitm can take some credit for encouraging and supporting these developments as a “critical friend” to Government, as we set-out to do a year ago. However, of greater significance, I believe is the new focus on public sector infrastructure that facilitates the deployment of new technology, such as flexible and mobile working (which is the example discussed in the article).

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Building Accessible & Secure Local Applications

James Lee and I met at Newham Dockside for a PSMP progress review. It’s planned to launch at the other four Olympic boroughs in July, and for the portal to simultaneously be made available in all other London boroughs, although local Council content will be dependent upon individual Authorities commissioning the requisite development work, if they want it. This can be procured from any developer, but if SNT Media Networks do the work, the cost will be capped at £38K. As well as TfL’s Local Journey Planner, new content will include “Report it” and Cinema Listings.
It’s also planned to provide localised data from DirectGov and the Job Centre Plus service.
A Stakeholder event has been arranged for 29th April, ahead of which James and I agreed to set-up a further strategy session to bring all three partners (SNT Media Networks, TfL and LB Newham) and their advisers up-to-speed with developments.

An EAS Board meeting was held today at the DfES offices in Great Smith Street. It was reported that the funding model for the wider service delivery model will be available within 6 weeks. Progress remains good with 62 MOUs for use in Contact Point now signed. Other “pipeline” applications/Service Providers include the DWP’s Customer Information System, the e-Common Assessment Framework, the Youth Justice Board, the Learning & Skills Council, the Qualification & Curriculum Authority, the DCMS (Olympic Boroughs) and DCLG Data Integration Hub.

Afterwards, I met with Anders Henrikson and a colleague from Verisec, who were visiting the UK from Sweden to promote the company’s “Authentication Appliance” which is one of the local authentication applications (others are from Microsoft and Thales) that can complement EAS, and is being implemented in Salford – the first EAS pilot site. Having negotiated the Tamil demonstration in Parliament Square, I met Anders in the St. Stephens Tavern, and we discussed how Socitm can help in promoting the Verisec solution.

ID cards and enhanced passports have moved a step closer with the announcement of supplier contracts. The CESG has today written to stakeholders suggesting an Identity Management Collaborative Working Group on 23rd April – the day of Socitm’s Spring National Conference. As the notice is rather short, I’m hoping that others will also be unable to attend, and an alternate date has to be found.

Monday, 6 April 2009

BT's Italian Job

Richard Carde and I met with Sean Harney and colleagues from Orange to discuss collaboration linked to Newham’s Telecommunications programme, and 2012. We agreed to work together strategically, and will develop a Memorandum of Understanding, and Non-Disclosure Agreement, under which we’ll share information, our business case and seek to agree a common roadmap.

Tim Allen hosted a meeting at the LGA’s offices in Smith Square to discuss the Collaborative Government ICT Procurement Strategy being worked-on by the OGC at the behest of the Central CIO Council. Pippa Bass, Director of Procurement Efficiency at the OGC, and Chris Kynaston, who is managing the project, also attended. Chris circulated the paper developed for the CIOC ahead of our meeting, which was agreed as being, on the whole, a reasonable approach to tackling obvious efficiency requirements. Tim called the meeting to ensure that the wider Local Government community were appropriately consulted, and in order that organisations like the LGA and Socitm can lend appropriate support to the initiative. We agreed to set-up a time-limited team with representation from the LGA, Socitm, Local Government Delivery Council and IDeA to facilitate these requirements.

Concerning the paper, my main concern was that it doesn’t seem adequately to reflect the fact that efficient procurement isn’t just about the least cost, but must facilitate market moving developments – rather than encourage stifling of innovation by encouraging suppliers to bid old technology, sweating their sunk investment, but delaying deployment of technology to benefit the wider public sector and communities it supports.

The fibre outage in Stratford, which resulted from 2012 contractors cutting through BT’s main fibre in the area, didn’t affect Newham’s main network, but feeder services to some small / outlying sites were lost.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Consolidation in Government IT

Somehow I missed this Guardian story on 1st April, but it still amused.

I’d be grateful for your support by completing this short survey on digital inclusion from David Clayden on behalf of Socitm & the CCitDG.

At Thursday’s Local CIO Council, a representative of OGC Buying Solutions was present to support my update on the proposed Public Sector Microsoft Licensing deal. The proposals were fully endorsed (and by the Central CIO Council, on Friday) and its hoped to make a public announcement soon, subject to finalisation of a few legal details and completion of the sign-off process.

Simon Norbury attended to agree proposals for benchmarking, by Gartner, of Government Connect infrastructure at four sites nominated by the LCIO Council versus previous intra-Government communications arrangements.

We broke into four groups to discuss the four business driver themes developed by Jos, Glyn, Mick and I – Public Service Efficiency and the Role of IT, Information Assurance and Information Management, Partnerships & Public Service Join-up, and Government Infrastructure Programmes – and were asked to decide if these were the right drivers, what were the underlying work stream requirements, and desired outcomes. You’ll see the results in the published minutes from the meeting but one required outcome was a CoCoCo – Common Code of Connection – which elicited suggestions of how this might become a CoCoCoCoCo – Comprehensively Co-ordinated Common Code of Connection etc, but most of the time we were very businesslike!

Roy Marshall gave an update from the DCLG, which he said has been ranked in the top quartile for IT, versus its peer group. Much of this concerned database rationalisation – not, it was stressed, for data sharing purposes, but for organisational efficiency. A Data Interchange Hub is at the heart of planned developments. There was some discussion, also, of the Operational Efficiency Programme, and expected radical IT cost savings requirements.

Kate Silver, Cabinet Office Transformational Government Lead on the Government IT Profession, attended to discuss how we should work together. The Government IT Profession is mandated for the Civil Service. Although the mandate doesn’t apply to the Local Public Sector, Socitm has joined “Partners in Professionalism” – the partnership of organisations involved in developing the profession, and Bernard Gudgin and Adrian Hancock have led for Socitm, to date. Rose and Kate arranged to meet to discuss how we should boost our engagement.

The Group also agreed to review the recently published Government strategy on Open Source, for endorsement at our next meeting.

On Friday morning I teleconferenced with John Skinner and Chris Blenkhorn, from Cisco. Chris has produced an excellent “Connected Community Blueprint”, which Socitm would like to endorse. I had a few suggestions for a Section on building trust and describing security requirements, which Chris agreed to incorporate.

In the afternoon I attended Socitm South’s Committee Meeting, at Mole Valley DC offices in Dorking, to discuss support from the Centre, regional development, business partnerships and Socitm’s “USP”. Perhaps the key requirement to emerge was for centrally managed liaison with the regions - particularly with a view to effective events co-ordination.

We also discussed and agreed a stimulating agenda for the branch’s next meeting on 12th June but, unfortunately, I cannot attend as they’ve gone and booked it for 12th June, when I shall be in Le Mans!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

April Fool's Apology

I thought this article about the Conficker Worm quite interesting. "This is very professionally architected design and development."

There are now over 300 members of the Socitm Web Improvement & Usage Community of Practice. (Registration required.)

The FAQs I referred to yesterday have been published.

After working at home, today, I enjoyed a leisurely drive to Sunningdale Park for this evening’s CIO Council dinner, and tomorrow’s meeting.

I owe PC World an apology. They ‘phoned first thing this morning to say I had booked a delivery time-slot on Thursday morning – 2nd April. I checked my order acknowledgement and receipt before ‘phoning, last night, but they didn’t include the booked delivery time. However, on checking my PC World account after this morning’s call, it did indeed say I booked for tomorrow. Why I did this, I cannot say, but have had a lot on my mind lately! Luckily, my daughter Kim will be home to take delivery as, thanks to the G20 Summit, the University of East London building where she studies, will be closed tomorrow.