When I read this article referring to Becta's report of Web 2.0 benefits in the classroom, alarm bells rang , as it made no reference to security or privacy. I was relieved, therefore, to find, on Becta's site, there is an associated report dealing with "E-Safety".

Today started in discussion of the Newham Telecoms Convergence programme with Geoff and Shane. We have been struggling to recruit an appropriately skilled and experienced Programme Manager, and so have decided upon an interim strategy.

We were then joined by Mary (Newham's ICT Security Officer) to discuss Newham's progress towards achievement of the GCSx CoCo. There are challenges that we share with Authorities across the country, which we believe we can manage appropriately.

However, we may have an advantage over some Authorities because of work already undertaken in areas like remote and flexible working, and in preparation for our move to Building 1000.

I have arranged to attend the next Socitm London Committee Meeting (10th October) to discuss concerns about the CoCo requirements that have been raised by London Authorities and, subject to my availability, I'll be happy to attend any other regional forum with Socitm members.

Meantime, I will be 'phoning a number of CIOs and IT Heads across the country to gauge their views, and have also arranged a further meeting with Philip Littleavon to discuss progress.

I was invited to a "Local Authority Trading and Entrepreneurial Activity Roundtable" at the DCLG (Eland House).

I arrived late, after the introductions, due to Tube delays, and didn't know most people, but Peter Gilroy, Chief Executive of Kent County Council, which is generally acknowledged as the most proactive Authority in exercising its powers to trade with, currently, commercial revenues of around £700m p.a., was there.

The backdrop to the meeting was the perception that Local Authorities, generally, have seemed reluctant to exercise the powers and freedoms to trade that they have acquired in recent years, and a desire to understand what the barriers may be, and views about what action, if any, may be required.

There will be a report back (following this and other consultations) to John Healy – DCLG Minister of State.

No one raised Legal Powers as an obstacle to trading. A lot of the discussion was of culture, risk appetite, skills, fear and confidence. Leadership was, of course, a key area.

Motivations for trading, such as economies of scale, or maximisation of asset benefits, were considered and different types of trading operation - from charging for services to investing in the development of commercial operations. Understanding the market, and the ability to "kill" something that's not working, were also considerations.

Politics was cited as a potential barrier, which I don't agree with – not in the sense of party politics, anyway, and the roles of Audit and, particularly, RIEPs was highlighted.

Finally, today, it does us all good to reflect, once in a while; articles like this help to encourage us to do so!

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