Web specialist wins Socitm travel prize

Shey Cobley, an online communications officer at Oxford city council, has won the Graham Williamson Challenge award from the Society of IT Management (Socitm).

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Shey Cobley, an online communications officer at Oxford city council, has won the Graham Williamson Challenge award from the Society of IT Management (Socitm).

The award – a learning through travel prize – allows an IT professional in the early stages of their career to gain a broader understanding of public sector IT through a placement in a host local authority overseas. It was set up in memory of Graham Williamson, the former head of IT at Argyll and Bute council who died in an accident in 2000.

Socitm president Rose Crozier presented the award at the organisation’s annual conference in Belfast.

Cobley, who joined Oxford city council a year ago, has concentrated on developing the authority’s website in order to improve service delivery and reach excluded members of the community.

She will use the award to visit India, hoping to make links with local and national e-government offices and visiting projects aimed at closing the digital divide between those with easy access to technology and those without.

“I am really excited about going to a country that is so rapidly expanding in the IT industry. It is going to be a real opportunity to see how another country approaches online service delivery,” Cobley said.

Cobley is also working on a PhD at Oxford Brookes University, where she lectures on e-government, with a thesis exploring the development of e-government in twenty-eight countries.

Oxford council chief executive Peter Sloman said the authority and the people of ~Oxford would “benefit from the fresh ideas and further improvements” that Cobley would bring to the job as a result of her trip. “We are all really proud of her,” he added.

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