The Resources Board met this morning in East Ham Town Hall. The main business was finalising services' Service Plans for 2008/9. Planning Guidance was previously agreed. Today we agreed an approach to quality assuring plans based on pairing services to QA one another's plans using a standard template. The ICT Service is "paired" with Customer Services.
After the Resources Board, I met with Ian Tompkins, Head of Communications, to discuss our web strategy. We agreed it's essential to avoid fragmenting the Council's web presence through multiple unrelated sites, but acknowledged the need to accommodate different goals such as maximising online transactional capabilities for Council services and promoting the borough as a whole to support all stakeholders and attract inward investment. Ian will establish a high level strategy group, as successor to "Excellence Online", comprising the Head of Community & Customer Services, Head of Council Tax & Benefits, himself and Geoff or myself.
The first meeting will be as soon as possible to work on our vision for web development, considering aspects such as social networking, personalisation, convergence, presence, identity and authentication. I will arrange a visit for us to Microsoft to consider the relevance of new technologies, such as Silverlight. We spoke, also about the opportunities the Newham Telecommunications Convergence project will present, including support for Communications' new film unit, and interactive signage.
After lunch Geoff, Shane and I were due to meet to consider ICT's Communications Plan. However, I have been mulling over some of the issues we have, of trying to provide a more customer oriented service, and achieve greater understanding and buy-in to the ICT Strategy, and staff role in its achievement. We therefore ended-up in discussion of a more radical reorganisation of the service than I had previously planned. Some of the issues we have mirror those that the Council as a whole has grappled with.
We need to reorient our organisation from the present functional teams facing customers, with (often ineffective) cross-cutting customer services to customer facing teams, with cross-cutting functions. We discussed new pan-ICT management requirements in areas such as Customer Services, infrastructure, capacity and availability - with an effective first line (triage) backed-up by multi-skilled teams – and end-to-end incident co-ordination and management of orders, faults, moves and changes. We agreed responsibilities for developing the details.