A few updates from me. Last week I spoke on behalf of the Society at the Transformational Government event in Westminster.

It was very well attended considering the weather and I used the opportunity to talk about avoidable contact as well as a number of "CIO role" issues. Plugs for Socitm's Channel Value Benchmarking and Professionalism work duly achieved!

On Tuesday of this week I met Philip Littleavon and Simon Norbury and, although I haven't yet discussed how/who/when with Richard, I want to make sure that we don't lose focus or momentum on this. I know that locally where I work we were a bit upset by the tone of some contact from GC but we see the worth of finally getting everyone linked as a start to building the linkages across the public sector that can help enable the transformation agenda.

The Society will, amongst other roles, continue to be a "critical friend" to the programme but it is in all of our longer term interests to make this happen. There is no doubt that Philip and Simon want Socitm to succeed and our discussions were both positive and constructive.

The GC work also raises an important issue for us as a Society however. In every area where we want to have influence it is important to show to others the Society's worth in being involved at the earliest stages of policy and initiatives development.

For too long we have been on the back foot and commenting on other people's (particularly central government) ideas and proposals rather than being in there help shaping them in ways that we can work with and that make sense locally.

Your Board will be considering how we make sure this happens. I know that GC doesn't apply to many of our members but early engagement regardless of where we are geographically located and who our local, regional or national government is has to be worth pursuing vigorously.

Work is also progressing on the detail and logistics of the 1 day national event on 23rd April. It will be a good day and we have secured Tony Travers and former MP Richard Allan as two of our headline "acts". With a mix of case studies and major strategic issues it will be both informative and participative and I urge members to support it. On the day we will also be holding the Society's AGM including any necessary elections. Be there, have your say and use your vote.

Socitm Board is tomorrow as I write this but next Tuesday gives me my opportunity to "get my own back". I'm chairing a worksstream at an event that features its first 2 speakers as our own Richard Steel and Glyn Evans.