Some thoughts after 3 months as President..........
So far I have managed to attend part of the Regional meetings for Eastern, Yorks and Humberside, West Midlands and London. I have dates in the diary for all other Regions except Scotland, Wales and North West and am working on those.
I have been struck at each meeting by the continued vibrancy of our Branch network, both the diverse and comments issues on their agendas and the value colleagues still place on attending these informative and valuable meetings. Fitting in this programme with the other Socitm “commitments” one has as President is a challenge as I’m still fully occupied with my day job at Hillingdon as well. However with the understanding of my employer and colleagues I seem to just about be able to juggle the myriad of demands.
I am convinced that as a Society we still don’t have enough focus on our members going forward, Different members have different needs and there is a need for a joined up “One” Socitm with the value more than the sum of the parts of our workstreams, offerings, communities of interest and meetings.
I also sense that we still have much to do to better manage the sometimes clear tension between our traditional membership base and the need to be more inclusive as we move forward. One member one vote and our membership currently includes a very wide range of organisations and individuals from the following sectors:
- Local Government
- 3rd Sector
- Fire & Police services
- Central Government
- Suppliers to each of these sectors
A major focus for me for the remainder of 2009 and “my part” of 2010 is developing membership and membership value whilst ensuring our continued financial security. Having finished a complete review of our finances and appropriate levels of reserves we are investing in Membership officer and Commercial resource but with a clear strategy to return bankable cash and efficiency benefits to the Society that outweigh the investment we are making.
Today we have published a draft “Value” proposition for Socitm and we are seeking views on this from across the membership (deadline for comment is 31 August). This is everyone’s Society and our direction needs to reflect our diversity of needs.
I hope you will find time to respond to the draft. We will, as part of this work be seeing what we can do to “up our game” in terms of communicating to members the huge amount of good work that is going on both within the membership and the Society itself to make the day job easier.
Can I also urge all members to support the Society’s annual conference which this year takes place between 11th and 13th October in Edinburgh. Apart from an excellent programme and a great opportunity to network with peers and key suppliers the annual conference is a showcase for us and it shows the strength and diversity of Society to people and organisations we need to influence.
What we need to do goes beyond my year of office but I am already working with Jos Creese and Peter Gallon to make sure that we move forward in a way that helps address the disjoin when we change President.
Membership: what is in it for you?
There are a growing number of reasons why membership of the Society is of personal benefit including:
- Personal networking/exchange of ideas
- Access to support networks, deal effectively with increasing pressures and expectations
- Increased personal profile insofar as you choose to get engaged
- Intellectually stimulating forums for discussion and ideas sharing
- Influence over future development of Socitm and credit for that influence
- Opportunity to influence government
- Personal development and training opportunities
- Peer support
- Professional status acknowledged
- Early access to best practice and case studies
- Early exposure to emerging trends
- Early awareness on new government directives and initiatives
- Technical, strategic and managerial benefits
- Relevant to a wide range of interests, skills and disciplines
- Personal resourcing through access to senior practitioners
- Enables an active role on regional or potentially national stages
- Enhances future employment opportunities
- Influence the development of services and products
In parallel with its established regional structures Socitm is also developing a number of focussed communities. These groups, which will be focused upon a particular sector or particular skills or areas of interest, will be driven by requirements from members and resourced by the Society. Current communities include
- CIO / HoIT
- Fire Service
- 3rd Sector
As well as running and resourcing ‘internal’ communities Socitm is putting in place partnership with other organisations to ensure that our members can benefit from participation in other community groups such as those for information professionals