Wednesday started with a self-inflicted headache after I attended, on Tuesday evening, 2e2's annual reception hosted by Lord St. John of Bletso on the House of Lords Terrace. I'd decided to leave the car behind - bad move - and clearly I overdid the vino tinto!
Socitm's Board meeting was held at Camden Town Hall. I'm glad to say we agreed a contract for non-Executive Directors, setting-out responsibilities and commitments, and a code of conduct.
We were rightly taken to task by the NAC for having requested it to change the date of its meeting to facilitate board representation, and then failed to ensure adequate representation. This clearly was unintended, and happened because of the shifting requirements of, and commitments to, Directors' employers.
In fact, our calendar has become rather a mess; I've struggled to keep-up. We've resolved therefore to reset a logically ordered calendar of meetings, and then stick with it - accepting that sometimes key individuals may need to miss the occasional meeting.
The decision to recruit of Heads of Membership Services and of Business Development was confirmed. These are two crucial appointments to continue to build capacity and expand our membership. The appointments will require some investment of reserves in the short to medium term, but ultimately should be self-financing. Finances are continuing to hold-up well, although we of course recognised the need to continue to monitor the position closely in the adverse economic environment that we'll all continue to face for some time into the future.
Neil Harvey, from the NAC, did a really great job on reworking our draft Value Proposition, and this should now provide the basis for marketing/public relations collateral going forward. Frances Kettleday also provided us with seminal advice on how to make our briefings and reports work better for us - by including information about who we are and how to get in-touch, for example!
Conference bookings are down a little, at this stage. Edinburgh is traditionally our most popular venue, and we have a great programme - reinventing local public services - radical thinking, practical solutions - so, if you haven't already, book-up quickly before the early bird discount runs-out!
I had to leave the Board Meeting before lunch to go across to a Public Sector Infrastructure Team Executive Board meeting at the DWP's offices in the former Adelphi Hotel, in the Strand, where I was both representing Martin Ferguson, who's on holiday in Turkey, and feeding-back from the Unified Communications sub-group meeting that I recently hosted at Newham Dockside.
At the UC meeting we had first defined what we mean by "Unified Communications" - fixed and mobile, covering voice, e-mail, messaging, and video, encompassing desktop and advanced business applications and, crucially, presence - and then proposed a vision statement: "This transformation agenda requires that services, processes and information are extended across the traditional 'machinery of government' silos, integrating service delivery around customer needs and cross-government policies, whilst also exploiting economies of scale and commonality in key areas", backed-up by a list of key requirements.
The PSIT Executive Board will incorporate other key considerations, such as Information Assurance, and "secure telephony" (which is surely missing the point... unified communications obviously mean that all communications are now just bits and bytes, and must be managed accordingly).
The vision, when ratified, will be published in due course but, in the meantime, my presentation is in the Socitm Futures GovX space, for those who have access, and the detailed paper is available in the Cabinet Office Government e-Room for those who have access to that.
The main business of the meeting was a presentation by Martin Bellamy, from the Cabinet Office, on "Government Data Centres, the G-Cloud and the Apps. Store", followed by discussion and feedback from us all. This is mooted as a new programme responding to drivers such as the Operational Efficiency Programme, the Green Agenda and Digital Britain. It's likely to become a major strand of the new Government IT Strategy (see John Suffolk's new Blog) and to launch early next year.
At the PSIT Executive Board we again alluded to the need for pan-Government security vision, supporting role-based access, ID management, authentication etc etc. I've always felt that identity should be federated so individuals don't have to cope with different systems for different sectors and suppliers, and this story therefore caught my interest.
I read in Municipal Journal that "the Internet giant has launched a website in partnership with DirectGov and Socitm... Google's Local government resource centre