I have been re-elected as the president of Socitm North East for another year, in absentia, which is nice. Last week was our annual general meeting but with one thing and another I wasn’t able to attend for the first half. I gather I wasn’t opposed. Richard has also been re-elected as vice chair. The meeting was extremely busy and so perhaps we have a winning combination? Along with Graham we’re a Socitm dream team.
I have never seen the place so busy over the last few months. Ever since we wrote out to everyone who we thought may be interested, seeking a wider audience, there has been standing room only. Indeed, Graham has had to turn people away with a polite email to avoid being overfull.
For reasons that are not worth going into we had thought it would be a problem to fill the agenda though in the end we ran over time. This is something I don’t like to do, especially when we are up against lunch. We had taken too much time on the AGM stuff and I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the sponsors.
Locally then, the group seems to be going from strength to strength yet there is still something lacking between the North East and the rest of Socitm. This is what took the time. To me Socitm still seems like a London-centric organisation and this is despite the Local CIO Council being chaired by Dylan who heads up the Leeds City Council team. Yet interestingly this is the main selling point of the society, its proximity to and subsequent influence over central government. This is what is of most value to us as regional public sector partners.
As Roy pointed out, the local meetings would take place with or without Socitm, we have proved this many times with the events we have put on, and so we need to somehow close the gap between where we are as a region and the more prominent role that the group would like to see.
This is mine and Richard’s job over the coming twelve months, to get Socitm to talk on behalf of the North East region as well as the rest of the country and to raise our influence with the powers that be at Westminster.
I think we are up for the challenge.