The first speaker at the Socitm conference on Monday was David Taylor a motivational speaker and author of the "Naked Leader" books. I've seen him speak a few times before, but he is always good value. He spoke about knowing the beliefs, actions and leadership required to be an IT Leader now that IT has come of age. It's time to draw a line under the past, when IT was treated as a poor partner inside organisations.

I attended a workshop session on computer forensics, led by Bruce Thomson, of Hillingdon Council, which convinced me that we should review some of the tools and techniques he presented.

A debate on "Web 2.0 – what are the implications for local authorities", led by Waltham Forest's David Wilde and Dan Jellinek of E-Government Bulletin, could have run and run, but I'm not sure it shifted anyone's thinking.

The SOCITM Presidential Team had to fit a fair amount of society business in during the conference, including a number of interviews, and a meeting of the Planning and Urgency Group to consider bids for review of its corporate services, and systems investment.

I therefore missed Sir Michael Bichard's "IT profession: progress report" that I had wanted to attend. From what I've heard, his presentation was very well received by the audience. He said that development in the profession since his address to the SOCITM conference in 2004 was positive across most areas examined and IT managers are increasingly able to engage with those in power.

The IT profession does, however, need to improve its communications skills if it is to have the appropriate level of influence at the top table of council management. Sir Michael also said that when it came to generating savings, service design had far greater potential than shared services, but that too little attention was being paid to it at the moment. You hit the nail on the head, there, Sir Michael!

In the evening, the President hosted a small reception for our overseas guests, from Holland, Sweden, New Zealand and the US, before the Gala Dinner and entertainment, which included a pipe band and Irish dancers, and an act by three opera-singing "waiters" that were absolutely brilliant!