A year of work in progress – day 177

Day 177 – 17 October 2014

It was foggy this morning when I work up. Actually it was dark and foggy but by the time I drove down to Durham, later on in the morning, the sun had come out and it was a beautiful day. Have I ever said that I like to think in metaphors? Today I came out of the fog and into the light.

My first meeting was with the joint Durham Northumberland board. I’ve been (jokingly) calling this the Durland project and the appellation is in danger of sticking. The meeting went very well and we have agreed a way forward on a couple of significant projects. I feel we’re really underway now. Cock-a-hoop may be apt.

Neil and I arrived at the SOCITM meeting just after it had started. The room was really packed, which is great to see, and so we had to sit in the cheap seats. It turned out that my jacket merged with the colour of the curtains and so I was able to slip quietly into the background.

As always there were some presentations. The first was on some channel management software, an app for your smartphone which allows the user to log a range of requests across multiple-channels. It was all very interesting but it felt that I’d seen its likes before.

The next presentation was much more interesting. It was about mailing, how to improve process and ultimately save money. While the presenter was speaking a voice inside my head was saying, we’ve got this, we’ve got this but I didn’t know how to broach the subject. I dived onto chat to ask Lee who confirmed that they were a supplier. Multi-channel indeed. I must read the agenda in advance.

Next up was the Crown Commercial Service (nee National Procurement Service) who came to talk about the National ICT Category Strategy focusing on innovation in the public sector ICT market and savings. The conversation was a little London centric but it was good to see a focus shifting to how can we use local authority spend to shape our markets.

The last presentation was done over video conference, which was a challenge in itself and very brave. The video was fine as was the in-bound audio. Asking questions wasn’t so easy. The talk was about the future of digital public service and was filled with interesting thinking. The talk was about moving Chief Information Officers to become cultural change agents. I’d like to be one of those as it’s not about the technology but about the culture.

Lunch was nice.

Learning points for today: we are in the age of lack of self-control; a national advisory group puts a whole different spin on nagging; perhaps I’m not as modest as I think I am; local government spends about £1 billion a year on software; digital may be the Emperor’s new clothes and; everyone is responsible.

Today’s enjoyment rating 10/10 – here we go.

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