Today I received a salutary lesson on dealing with some parts of the media. Last Thursday, I was left a message saying that a Mark Ballard, of the Inquirer, had called about Newham's relationship with Microsoft, and so I returned the call when I had time on Friday.

I generally enjoy a good relationship with the IT press, so am used to speaking honestly and openly with reporters. However, I had some misgivings following my discussion with Mark, as he clearly wasn't following what I had to say.

Nevertheless, I had promised to follow-up with some information, so did so this morning. A little later, 'though, I was contacted by another journalist asking about the story that appeared in "The Inquirer" (a journal I hadn't heard of) which completely misrepresents my comments.

Far from saying that we had "scrapped" our MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Microsoft, what I actually said was that we achieved all of its objectives except one – benchmarking against other Microsoft accounts, industry wide – which was due to be completed within the next 3 weeks or so. We had therefore agreed new actions with Microsoft in a progress review last year.

What I didn't say, but perhaps could have mentioned as a sign of our strong and strengthening relationship was that Newham, at that time, was also designated by Microsoft as one of only five major local government accounts.

I have the feeling that whatever I say, now, could be twisted or misrepresented so, for once, will take time to consider whether, and how, to respond – but, for now, have higher priorities to address.


Chief among these is preparing for Socitm meetings on business development and sponsorship following our AGM, this week, and reviewing the considerable body of material that we've accumulated on organisational development options. I would like, as soon as practicable to publish an action plan with timeline to the Membership.