Martin Lewis and I met in his office to discuss the council's involvement with London's Regional Improvement & Efficiency Partnership (RIEP).

To be known as "Capital Ambition", this partnership is formed from a merger of the London Centre of Excellence, Capital Ambition and, possibly, London Connects. It will be administered by London councils.

I obviously have a special interest in London Connects and maintaining the good progress it has made in working across London. But I also questioned how Newham can influence and benefit from developments.

I updated Martin with progress, as I understand it, concerning London Connects and the likelihood it will remain independent for this year. Martin explained that he is already consulting with colleagues on our participation in Capital Ambition.

Geoff, Gary and I hosted longish discussions with colleagues from Microsoft, including licensing specialists, and Byte Technology (a Microsoft reseller) on development of their public sector licensing model.

This was in furtherance of the commitment the Shared Learning Group made to Microsoft's Worldwide Head of Public Sector at its last quarterly meeting.

It was subsequently agreed that Newham would lead the discussion and report back to our next quarterly meeting. We had a wide-ranging discussion, and I was impressed at how open to ideas our guests were. Jay, from Byte Technology, seemed to know Microsoft Licensing inside out and I thought he should be on Mastermind, which hints at the complexity of current arrangements, and why they would want to improve upon them.

Some of the bullet points from our meeting included:

  • licensing according to demographics
  • licensing per user rather than per machine
  • metered usage through identity management and authentication of user roles
  • "all-you-can-use" software at a fixed cost; and
  • user licensing inclusive of server/datacentre costs.
A key requirement was supporting the various partnership models we are moving into.

I circulated a "straw-man" on a new, streamlined, organisation for SOCITM at the beginning of the week, which has been favourably received by its national council members who have provided very constructive feedback. I am optimistic that we'll agree the reorganisation required at our national council meeting on 13 March for approval at the April AGM.