Unfolding plans 167 – The governors

We govern our ICT with three overlapping circles, a trefoil or a shamrock.  Our governance is a lucky charm.

We have three overlapping groups that set direction and hold us all together. The Strategic ICT Group comprises directors and Head of service.  Their job is to set the direction and need for technology.  They also sign off on key decisions. The core group which comprises senior managers, take the direction and translate this into business requirements while the architecture group translates them into technology.  We do not have a single technical architect.  We have a group instead.  Information and decisions go round these three groups.

We have a prioritisation methodology to ensure the council uses its resources appropriately.  We used to prioritise on an annual basis but now review our work plan every three months.  Even this may not be often enough as the pace of technology ramps up.

The funny thing is though that these three groups have never met.  They weren’t overlapping.  There was no Venn diagram, at least that is until today.  We’d all met each other as individuals just not as a group and it was about time this was corrected.

So today we had our first joint ICT governance meeting.  All of the teams got together to talk about the future and to get a common understanding of where we need to go and what technology we need to get us there.  We started off with introductions and a discussion on the remits of each group.  Keith and Marian gave us an example of how the prioritisation process works and we gave some time to those things that have worked well.

The bulk of the time, however, was given over to the key drivers and key issues facing the Council.  We know these already don’t we?  We’ve considered these in the past.  In future the Council is going to have less money, our population is going to get older (on average), there will be lots of new technology and smarter customers who are able to use it.  Collaboration and co-creation of services and products will be our watchwords whilst there will be a load more data to contend with.  Overall the pace of change will increase and we’ll have a challenge to keep up with it all.

So, there is not much in there to concern us.

We managed to cover a lot of ground.  The meeting didn’t quite pan out as I had anticipated but the juices got going and nearly everyone had their say.  Many of the issues we still need to address are around communication (hence the need to get together).  What are the key projects that we are working on?  How does this fit in with the resource we have available?  Is what we are doing in line with the Council Plan and Sustainable Community Strategy and do we give enough credence to the work we are doing to make what we do every day work better?

Most people went away thinking it had been a useful event and we agreed to meet again as one group in six months’ time.

My lucky charm must still be working.

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