An early start (week commencing 13 July), as I met with Glyn Evans over a coffee to prepare for the Socitm Futures meeting later on Monday morning.
Amongst other things, we considered how Socitm Futures might follow-up the Digital Britain and OEP briefings with further guidance and support for Socitm members. This debate was taken up by the Futures members as a number of ideas were explored in some detail. Mark Brett gave an update on his extensive information assurance work for Socitm.
In the afternoon, a number of Futures group members had stayed to meet Andrew Stott, the new Director of Digital Engagement in the Cabinet Office. We talked about two key areas of his activity:
• How does government use digital media?
• Making public data freely available?
In conclusion, we identified a number of potential action areas for Socitm, including tracking down case studies of local good practice; ‘surfacing’ local public data; standards for presenting public data; developing a ‘typology’ of local services and engagement; and, in collaboration with others, developing a competition for innovation in local engagement.
Rose Crozier (Chair of Socitm’s Membership Group) and I prepared for a meeting on Thursday with Kate Burns of Government IT Profession team in the Cabinet Office.
Our objective was to obtain backing for Socitm to lead on developing its ‘professionalism’ offering to members, including focused portfolios for key groups such as CIOs and the new web development ‘community’. We were also keen to explore whether there might be some assistance with resources. Kate explained that her team had obtained agreement to five key performance indicators (KPIs) that any organisation can use to self-evaluate its progress in ‘professionalising’ the IT function.
The KPIs are being trialled with 65 organisations. She asked for Socitm’s support in developing the trial with the local authorities in her list. We were told that financial resources for the IT Academy have been severely cut and there is no prospect of that kind of support. However, she did offer us support from two of her team in rolling out the trial and in developing our wider offering.
That evening, I travelled to Dorich House, part of Kingston University. It turned out to be an intriguing setting for the inaugural meeting of an Information Management and Knowledge Sharing Forum being facilitated by Kingston University.
I had been invited to participate by our very own Chris Head, Principal Associate with Socitm Insight and a Visiting Fellow at the university. The venue was the former art studio and home of Dora Gordine. In her time, she was regarded as the premier sculptress in the world.
http://www.kingston.ac.uk/dorich We had a stimulating debate about the purpose and nature of the Forum, which will have value for Socitm, amongst others, in providing research and networking opportunities for senior public sector employees working in information and knowledge intensive areas and in establishing productive links with Kingston’s and other academic resources. And, of course, this plays directly into Socitm’s desire to major on ‘Information, Innovation and Improvement’.
The university has a long track record of working collaboratively with practice. Indeed, it was just this very topic that had been raised in the Membership Group’s meeting only a week earlier.