A year of work in progress – day 102

Day 102 – 6 June 2014

There is nothing nicer than left over pie to get you started (that is if you don’t include left over curry but that is not always great if you have a meeting to go to). Pastry must count as one of mankind’s greatest achievements.

Today was SOCITM day and a chance to meet my regional colleagues for an update. We meet at Ramside Hall just outside Durham as it is central to the twelve authorities that attend along with the respective public sector bodies and is easy to get to for suppliers. Roy takes the lead on this one and so I can be a participant rather than sit in the driving seat. It was such a beautiful morning that I chose a set with a view out of the window.

The meeting started at 9:30 with a ‘closed’ meeting for the local authorities followed by the ‘open’ session at 10:30. We went round the table giving an update on the top three positive issues that were facing. I mentioned Digital Durham, the application mapping exercise, Dynamo and Northumberland (I know that’s four). Sarah joined us as the new ICT lead for Redcar and Cleveland. She is the Asset Manager and so brings a different perspective but having listened to the issues she is grappling with they all sounded very familiar.

There were some interesting comments about virtual desktops (VDI) particularly around business cases and delivering applications. This was very useful for a meeting I have planned for Monday. The Care Act, a bill to reform the law relating to care and support for adults, support for carers and safeguarding adults from abuse or neglect also raised its head. This is going to be huge as the first ICT changes need to be in place by April 2015.

I had to nip out to attend a Members’ Development group meeting back at County Hall. I was expecting trouble which fortunately did not emerge. The difference between members and officers is always an opportunity to learn.

I got back to Ramside half way through a discussion around the governance of risk management. Tom postulated that the management of risk should be an opportunity rather than seen as a negative. If you have no reds on your risk register are you running as effectively as you could be? Are you trying hard enough? We need to understand the specific risks to be able to articulate them to the customers.

Julia brought us up to speed with what Newcastle pitched to win the O2 Local Government Digital Fund. They are using smartphones to aid independence for young people with special education needs as well as adults with learning difficulties. This looks like a great project and I can see why I wasn’t successful. Lisa then gave us an update on Go Digital Newcastle.

I think I’ll lose the beard.

Learning points for today: You can sail too close to the wind; reporting to finance makes it easier to access money; everyone is in the same boat; it is a leaky boat; rosehip cordial is nice;

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – interesting projects, useful contacts.

2 thoughts on “A year of work in progress – day 102

  1. Hi Phil, I just thought i would drop you a note to say your blogs and your recent Computing article were incredibly insightful! I live in Durham (Consett) and have spent most of my adult life working in the IT Industry away from home. I have just recently completed a long haul IT project in Local Gov. for an SME to a larger SI. In respect to your computing article I would like to see if i could share / give back some of thoughts, experiences and innovation which you may find of interest.

    I am not a sales guy, more someone who is passionate about the North East and how you might innovate to make peoples lives more simple, for employees, the citizen and your partners both big an small. I have three passions data, mobility and the internal building of LA capapbilities to share across authorities and how these can be deployed “inside-out” to help people at any age, drive change for the better whilst making our jobs more sustainable for growth in the North East. I am convinced that the North East has an opportunity to lead by example.

    If you would like to meet up for a coffee conversation then i would be delighted to catch up with you for an hour to trade perspectives and share some ideas.

    Take care and keep blogging!

    Andrew Gunn
    28 Oley Meadows
    DH8 0JF

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