I attended a SOCITM Information Age Group meeting in Euston. There was a presentation from the Cabinet Office on NIAS - the National Information Assurance Strategy.

I felt irritated at yet another new initiative, and that the presentation was a little patronising, as if this was something that wouldn't have occurred to local government. I asked, as I always make a point of doing whenever I discover a new government quango, if we could have a map of all the initiatives and how they relate to one another, as there still appears to be a fair amount of duplication and reinventing of wheels.

Paul Davidson, of LeGSB (the Local e-Government Standards Board) then went on to present all the relevant initiatives of which he was aware – including the Information Governance Toolkit that Newham looks-after on the Solutions Sharing Network I then had to admit that a national strategy to co-ordinate activity is needed!

Back in the office, I chaired our monthly ICT Staff Council meeting. Among other things, we discussed the need for a generic confidentiality agreement that staff could sign covering work we undertake with, or for, external partners. This arose because the ODA requires us to sign an agreement relating to the services we provide it, but it could equally apply to any other external work.

I have asked ICT Council members to pilot the Stress Assessment Toolkit, downloaded from the Health & Safety Executive's web-site. I am concerned about the plethora of surveys that we ask people to involve themselves in, these days, but this looked like one that we should prioritise, to me, so I'll be interested to discover their views.

I started a new discussion in the ICT Discussion Forum – "Flexible Working in ICT Services" – to help inform management thinking about how we should organise to support extended hours of coverage, whilst reducing reliance on overtime.