A year of work in progress – day 207

Day 207 – 2 December 2014

I must start off with an apology. Yesterday I may have inadvertently given the impression that I would be on the VIP table for the Great Staff, Great Stuff awards event. It turns out that I was close but it was no cigar. I was on the next table and did get to sit with the sponsors, without whom the event would not have been so successful.

Digital Durham didn’t win the team of the year. We came second or highly commended which is no mean achievement in itself. We were pipped to the post by the Durham in Bloom project team who had already won gold in the Northumbria in Bloom and the national Britain in Bloom competition. Stiff competition indeed.

The evening was good, very well planned and the speeches were interesting and motivating. It was also pleasing, from my own perspective, to see how many teams and projects that ICT Services had worked with over the last year, including the winners of Excellent Service, the Housing Stock Transfer team and Working Together, the Lumiere project team. Nearly all of the finalists were customers in one way or another. We had also produced the brochure which looked excellent. ICT really does touch all aspects of the Council.

This morning I had two more presentations. Both were at Tanfield and so there wasn’t as much criss-crossing of the county. I gave out the silver medals for the quiz. Before that I met with Darin who is going to turn my badly drawn PowerPoint architecture map into a work of unquestionable beauty. I said that I needed it by Monday and he said that I would have it by close of play today.

Alli and I then went up to Stanley Town Hall to meet with a few others to talk about how we can use digital to help with the regeneration of the town. My thinking is that we could make Stanley the WiFi town of the north. I am nothing if not ambitious! Visit County Durham had already developed a Stanley Destination Delivery Plan and that gave us a good place to start.

Digital is not the scourge of the high street and it is my belief that it could be used to enhance the consumer’s experience. When I go on holiday I like to explore old small towns, have a coffee and buy some souvenirs. Why can’t I do this closer to home? Why not in Stanley?

The meeting was a good start. We talked about the plan, the four opportunities that Stanley has (culture hub, value shopping cluster, events, services and provisions for visitors) and how digital could support all of these. The plan also refers to some challenges and again digital could help with a couple (civic pride, a town that looks in on itself). We identified all the groups that may have an interest in what we are doing and came up with some possible ideas.

I agreed to draft a report and we’re going to set up some meetings with the key groups that represent the town and pitch our idea. This could be exciting.

In the afternoon I attended the first Children and Adults’ Services ICT Strategy group.

Learning points for today: people don’t always like having their photograph taken; there is a cold wind in Stanley but it is on the Coast to Coast; you need to start by building a consensus and; January is starting to look very busy.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – loved the Stanley thing.

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