A year of work in progress – day 216

Day 216 – 15 December 2014

I know it’s getting close to year end yet all the big projects are showing their faces this week. Digital Durham is there of course and my first meeting was to present a progress update to the Economy and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee. This is another meeting that I’ve managed to avoid so far as Tony normally attends. My report was received well and I was able to respond positively to their questions. I did take a leaf out of the politicians’ handbook and kept repeating the phrase ‘our aim is one hundred per cent of properties’ at every opportunity. I think I got the message across.

Active Directory is a pivotal tool in making sure that everyone has the right access to systems and data by assigning and enforcing security policies for all computers and installing or updating software. Like many organisations though our AD has grown organically rather than through a strategic approach and so I met up with Human Resources with a view to getting this sorted. This meeting has been a long time coming. It is a key project. It’s not going to be an easy fix yet the accommodation programme gives us a great opportunity as potentially everyone’s role is going to be challenged. We agreed that I would take a report to the Strategic ICT Group.

After that I attended the Customer Relationship Management meeting to take them though the latest iteration of our architecture map. It’s tripping off the tongue now and went down well. I need to write some narrative and take it through Corporate Management Team

As for number eight on my ten things I was going to achieve, this one I’m going to give a big tick.   Collaborating with another authority could take on many forms from sharing a document to a fully blown shared service. This time last year we were in deep discussions with our colleagues in Sunderland about collaborative services but that did not come to fulfilment. This time we are working with Northumberland and that is making slow yet steady progress.

I don’t think that local government really has a choice, either we collaborate more across authority boundaries or we are up a creek. Collaboration is our paddle. Whichever flavour of government gets in following next year’s elections the story will be similar. There will be less money and collaboration is no longer a question of should we but how do we. How do we create a working relationship where everyone feels they have some say, some responsibility yet takes their share of the pain?

Our jewel in the collaboration crown however is the same subject as I started with today. Digital Durham has quietly put together a consortium of ten local authorities across the region covering the conurbations around the Tees, Tyne and Wear. If we include our growing relationship with Northumberland and our close ties with the Newcastle programme then I think we have it covered.

Speaking of Northumberland, my last meeting of the day was up at County Hall in Morpeth to talk about a regional skills agenda as part of both Dynamo and the North East Combined Authority.

Learning points for today: Life is not always fair; getting people to understand technical issues (including myself) will take time and; we’re always going to need ICT

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – rolling along nicely.

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