A year of work in progress – day 106

Day 106 – 12 June 2014

Today was another one spent north of the Tyne. That makes two in a row. This morning we had our regular North East ICT Managers meeting and Ian at North Tyneside had offered us a room. It was not worth driving to Durham to come back for half ten and so I put my best agile working to the test. To be honest I can work anywhere now, with or without a connection as long as I have some power left in my battery, but the connection was good in their lovely restaurant and so it was just like the old times. I used to work at Cobalt, or at least turn up and it is always strange going back but I sat in the middle of the restaurant and a string of people came up to say hello. I got to say hello to Norma the Mayor as well.

North Tyneside is going to be joining the Digital Durham programme which will make ten local authorities working in collaboration. Is this a record outside of London?

As for the NEICT meeting, there was a good agenda. We started off with the demonstration of a collaboration tool by Cofely, the organisation that runs North Tyneside’s ICT, called OpenText. It was very impressive and quite timely as we’re trying to kick of a records and documents management system project. Whenever I see systems demonstrations I have two thoughts, I want this or what’s the point. This one fell into the first category.

We normally start the NEICT meetings with a general chat but we were all (nearly) at the SOCITM meeting on Friday and so nothing much had changed. We did talk about smartphones and what we are all doing for the future. An ideal candidate for a longer session at next month’s meeting.

We also covered mobile end point management and the ever confusing baseline personal security standards. The fog may be lifting on this last one at last.

We set some time aside to talk about benchmarking. I’ve never been a fan because you either come out well and feel smug or you come out badly and you argue about the figures. Comparing apples and pears is always mentioned. Graham is going to collate some information about what each of us collects and we’ll get together to agree what we mean by each performance indicator. We’ll then take these to another benchmarking group for comparison.

In the afternoon I made my way to Blyth for a couple more Northumberland Heads of Service meetings.

Learning points for today: Public sector values are not the same as public sector ethos; it’s difficult getting things done working in a restaurant; the Italian flag is now teal, white and claret; everything is PSN’s fault; Gateshead hold totally paperless meeting and; always get a receipt.

Today’s enjoyment rating 10/10 – enjoyed meeting so many people again.

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