Socitm, the professional association for public sector IT management, has pledged support for the Government’s CloudStore by offering the services of the Local CIO Council to develop its uptake by local public services. 

CloudStore, the government’s solution for cloud deployment in the public sector, opened for business this week, where some 257 suppliers were named as part of the framework. 

Although there are some big names amongst the suppliers, such as BT, EMC and Microsoft, analysts suggest that approximately half are SMEs. 

Socitm and the Local CIO Council will advise the Cabinet Office on how the CloudStore web offering can be developed to better reflect the needs of local public services, both in terms of signposting and in terms of the products and services on offer. 

A proposal with details of what additional support Socitm is able to offer will be presented at the next G-Cloud Board meeting to be held at the end of February. 

“We need easier procurement, more choice and flexible ‘cloud’ services that make government more agile in terms of business practices and in the adoption of new technologies,” said Jos Creese, past president of Socitm and chair of the Local CIO Council. 

“That is why this development holds so much potential,” he added. In separate news, Socitm has also released a report today, entitled ‘Social media goes mainstream – but the right way?’, which highlights how local authorities are becoming more lenient about staff accessing social networking sites whilst at work. 

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The survey, carried out over a two year period, questioned local authority CIOs and Heads of IT and found that in 2010, 90 per cent of organisations said they restricted access to social media in some way, while 67 per cent reported having a total ban on use, enforced either through policy or by a software block. 

In 2012, only 68 per cent of respondents stated that they put some restrictions in place, with now only 4 per cent claiming that staff had no access at all. 

The report also looked at why councils felt the need to block social networking at work, where the majority felt protecting council information was important. 

For those organisations that do restrict access, 72 per cent cite security risks as their main concern, where risks to council data and concerns about spyware and malware were cited by 52 per cent of respondents. 32 per cent of respondents also said that bandwidth was an issue for their organisation. 

Socitm found that in 2012 all employees have access to Twitter in 44 per cent of councils, and “some of them” have access in 54 per cent of councils, with only 2 per cent offering no access at all. 

Results were similar for Facebook, with all employees having access in 42 per cent of councils, some having access in 54 per cent, and just 4 per cent having no access at all.