I can’t believe that I have been chairing the Society of ICT Managers – North East for a year now. Tempus fugit as they say around our way. It was time for elections again and I’m pleased to say I was re-elected unopposed. I got one hundred and seven per cent of the votes. In an interesting move the deputy chair was appointed from the private sector as the incumbent had retired.
I say I am pleased and I say it was an interesting move as it has been a mixed year for the North East branch. I feel that the meetings have been of high quality (I would say that though), certainly well attended yet membership numbers have dropped to an all-time low. Now this has been a trend over the last six years and so I don’t want to claim all the credit. Some of the drop has been down to Local Government Review, which has seen the number of authorities in the region halve as the districts have disappeared. A dozen or so districts and their members have gone.
What is missing though are other possible members including other public sector and the private sector. The number of members outside of local authorities is very low and the appointment of a private sector vice chair was a clear nod to start to address this issue.
There are a lot of other distractions and groups to occupy the time of the hard pressed ICT managers across the region yet, if we want the regional branch to be of relevance, then we need to get our thinking caps on. It would be really useful, in my opinion if there was a group that represented the whole of the public sector across the region as well as its interface with commercial organisations. This will become increasingly important as the lines between the different public services blur over the coming years. Why not SOCITM North East?
Graham and I are attending the Membership Advisory Committee in February, which will give us somewhere to start. The meeting is in London which is potentially part of the issue. The capital is such an awful place to get to yet it is much easier than all the other options. We’ve also agreed to set some time aside at the next quarterly meeting to talk about what we all want.
That sounds like a plan.