This morning I met Steve Markwell, the new CEO of the NCC (National Computing Centre) with two of his colleagues at their offices near Fleet Street.

They are interested in working with Socitm in a number of areas. A new set of professional development standards, under the banner "AccredIT UK – the standard for suppliers and purchasers of ICT solutions" is under development by the NCC, and the first two (of nine) modules have just been launched.

The organisation is particularly looking to help SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises) to engage with the public sector.

Onerous procurement regulations can pose costly barriers to entry for small businesses, and the hope is that suppliers who attain AccedIT standards could automatically achieve public sector pre-qualification criteria.

The NCC would like Socitm to help it gain public sector support for this development, which I certainly think we should investigate further.

There were several other areas of potential collaboration – referral of Consultancy business, IS Professionalism and Green IT, for example.

I would hope, as a minimum, we can arrange for quarterly liaison meetings to share development plans and federate products to avoid duplication and share benefits, but we also agreed to set-up an initial workshop for detailed discussion of ways we can work together.

Later, I met Janet De Rochford, the Chair of Socitm's Performance Management Group, at her office in County Hall, Maidstone. We considered ways to maintain and develop Socitm tools and standards like the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KPI database, benchmarking and the National e-Service Delivery Standards. The future of PMG, as currently constituted, is uncertain as it's subject to review like all our services. The board, however, is keen to retain the energies of enthusiastic contributors through the National Advisory Council, and I'm glad to say that Janet confirmed interest in membership. We also discussed a workshop to consider the development of benchmarking – particularly to measure the business value gained for ICT, rather than just the performance of ICT.

Back home, I joined a teleconference with Newham and Microsoft colleagues to discuss progress in areas like Vista deployment, CardSpace, OCS (Office Communications Server) and benchmarking. We also discussed a Local Authority Challenge competition – Innovate08 – to be launched by Microsoft with the LGC, IdeA and Socitm.

Following which, after a tiring week, it was nice to sit in the evening sun with Chris, in our garden, and share a glass, or two, of wine!