by Richard Steel

Madhatter’s tea party

Apr 29, 20093 mins
IT Leadership

Socitm’s National Advisory Council, held today at Friends’ House, in Euston, was an interesting affair, described by the Chair, at one point, as “like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, with which I concur! That’s not intended to be in any way derogatory, but reflects the enthusiasm with which the debate was joined.

The “meat” of the meeting was in discussing papers, presented by Adrian, positing a number of questions on membership structure.

I have to confess to some frustration at the number of times colleagues declared themselves uninformed (or words to that effect) about issues under discussion – as we have striven to keep all our membership up to speed with Society developments (as in this Blog, for example).

I guess this situation is another demonstration of the reality we now have to face; our members are under intense pressure in their “day jobs” and it’s only when you can get them away from the office to meetings like this that they’re able to really engage in Socitm’s business; then it’s like letting the genie out of the bottle!

We agreed, however, proposals for roughly half of regional meeting content being provided through corporate policy themes, with the remainder representing local priorities.

There was agreement, also, on proposals for moving towards a “Socitm Group” type of structure with divisions focussed on different membership interests, such as Web Management or Information Assurance.

The meeting was overwhelmingly in favour of maintaining “Socitm” as the master brand, but with a slight change of emphasis – the “Society of Information and Technology Management”.

There was a view that most public sector employees are reluctant to pay their own Socitm membership fees because they know that their employers pay their managers’ (true, I believe, in most cases) and, not unreasonably, expect the same treatment, even ‘though they are happy to pay membership fees to other organisations, such as the BCS.

This presents us with quite a challenge, especially in the belt tightening environment that now prevails, given our ambition to drive up membership, and it suggests we must prioritise development and implementation of our corporate membership scheme.

There was some discussion of Directors’ portfolio responsibilities, which are currently being reviewed, and which Steve plans for us to discuss at our next board meeting. I was reminded of what I had wanted to raise at the last meeting, but forgot – that, given the pressures on members’ time, we aspire to ensure they are supported by paid Socitm officers, when representing the Society in meetings, who ensure that agreed actions are taken-forward. Linked to this, nominated Directors should monitor our various representative activities to ensure effective engagement with Government & other key stakeholders, among their other portfolio responsibilities.

The day finished with a PSMP partners’ meeting, held at the RICS Board Room at 12 Great George Street, which has a terrace overlooking Parliament Square to which, at the conclusion of our meeting, we adjourned for celebratory drinks in the evening sunshine. How the other half live, eh!

Finally, today, here is alarming news from Pinsent Masons – ” Workers name their price for Company secrets ” – which I guess is an increased problem in the present economic downturn.