Adrian, David and I all attended this morning’s “Socitm/ Intellect Local Government Supplier Forum”, which had as its theme “Government Authentication Services”.

We are keen to bolster our support for this forum, consistent with our new membership model, providing “equality of membership” and desire to articulate a policy agenda that’s understood and shared with private sector colleagues.

Speakers were from the DCSF on the Employee Authentication Project and the new “Gateway to Educational Services” (GES) project, and Hampshire’s Ian Cooper presented a local government perspective on Government Authentication Services, and elaborated a number of challenges for all those who are working in the field, consistent, of course, with the need to develop pan-Government security vision and strategy.

GES aims to engage parents /carers and other stakeholders through a single secure infrastructure to support all related services delivery – such as admissions, attainment, transportation, school meals, course planning and grants.

A generic online Free School Meals application was used to exemplify the GES approach. I thought this a little flawed, as it still required parents to apply for Free School Meals, whereas I understand that if they are in receipt of certain benefits - Income Support, for example - their children automatically qualify and could be passported through the process.

I had planned to stay for the Management Board in the afternoon, but left Adrian to keep our end up while I returned to my hotel room to deal with some correspondence and reports, including last minute updates to tomorrow’s Socitm Board agenda, agreed at yesterday evening’s session.

In the evening I attended the Computing Awards for Excellence 2008 at the Battersea Park Events Arena – the first time I’ve been there – it’s big! Rob Brydon did a great job as the after dinner entertainment and awards presenter.

Funnily enough, my evening started in conversation with Intellect’s Charles Ward – a fellow Computing Awards judge - who introduced me to John Higgins, Intellect’s Director General, and we agreed to meet in furtherance of a closer working relationship.