On Monday I chaired a sickness absence Hearing at Newham Town Hall, following which I returned home to work.

Three news articles interested me because of the different perceptions of ICT they reflect. Whilst there's a view that flexible working enabled by ICT proved its worth in last week's winter storms and resultant transport disruption, and a majority of public sector employees believe that ICT can help drive down costs, CIOs believe that businesses are ignoring the potential benefits of high-performance networks, and (because?) they have only a middling influence on business strategy. Together, these represent a fair summary of the state of our art, in my view, and draw attention to the key areas in which we need to develop our skills.

Socitm has now received a number of responses to its broadcast about the Government Connect letters that were recently sent to many Authorities concerning CoCo compliance progress. Thanks to all respondents. Some have expressed anger and frustration - which we will be discussing with the team - and one plaudit, was received. Additionally, Philip Littleavon (Programme Director) has replied to a note of mine as follows. (Reproduced with Philip's permission.)

"We have had a mixed response to the last (Jan 30) letter, but not all (or majority) bad. Roughly 130 responses received out of about 180 requested. Of those that responded about 15 could be categorised as "very disappointed.." and we've said sorry where appropriate, but all of these authorities are doing quite well. The majority were OK and we have had a few plaudits as well. Within the 130 there are a handful that are clearly at risk of not achieving compliance on time.

"Whilst accepting that a few feathers have been ruffled and that we clearly got some facts wrong (eg., some lost responses to the 21 November mailing) the process has moved us on enormously. The acceleration in progress we have experienced is incredible. Currently receiving c. 40 CoCo updates per day!

"We are still collating and analysing, but I have concerns in a couple of areas.

1. Those that did not respond (c.50)
2. Those that did not respond to the previous mailing (c.11). These (on paper) have made least progress.

"We will need to keep working on these Councils until a clear statement emerges. Of course we risk more annoyance."

We will respond to all the Authorities that contacted us letting them know what action is taken.

On Tuesday, with James Lee and Ian Tomson-Smith of SNT Consulting, Richard Carde and I had back-to-back meetings with Orange and TfL.

We met Bob Pisolkar, Orange's Public Sector Divisional Business Manager, and Sean Harney, Business Development Manager, to discuss engagement in related areas that include a technology roadmap workshop, commercialisation and market intelligence.

Vince Tooke, from TfL joined us to discuss PSMP project progress and how we address issues such as Programme Governance, Marketing and PR, development priorities and exemplification of a standard business case. We also reviewed related work on the network infrastructure and Data Centre.