by Richard Steel

One small step for mankind, a giant leap for Socitm

Aug 14, 20083 mins
IT Strategy

Camden Town Hall was the venue for today’s Socitm Board Meeting. Steve Jones joined us as a new Non-Executive Director, picking-up the Portfolio for Information Systems & Technology. Bernard Gudgin joined us as an Advisor – particularly on Membership matters.

We are now forecasting to make a modest but, as yet fragile, surplus in this year’s budget, but this is good news after several years of six figure losses!

A major item was to agree proposed investment in new CRM (Customer Records Management) and CMS (Content Management System) software that will be integrated with our Exchequer system. This is a small step for mankind, but a giant leap forward for Socitm – our current membership system is an Access database! The aim is to implement the new system in time for our new membership year, starting 1st January.

We also agreed the last major organisational change for our rejuvenated Society, which will be to have two divisions with their own management boards dedicated to Membership Benefits and Service Delivery. We also discussed draft organisational diagrams, which we aim to finalise at September’s Board meeting. More about these developments will be in my forthcoming President’s Report.

David, Bernard and Adrian presented new membership proposals, which we discussed for well over an hour. This is a relatively complex subject given the various factors to be considered, such as our planned expansion of scope and extension of the electoral franchise. However, good progress has been made, and I’m confident that we will have practical and effective proposals to lay before the EGM at our October Conference.

We discussed the consultation that’s commenced on Events Management, and the board agreed proposals for carrying this work forward. It’s looking like a “hybrid solution” is favoured – a mixture of self-service for regional meetings (using our super new CMS system) and some out-sourcing of events organisation and management. We noted that we need, carefully, to consider how this will work with the new approach to private sector partnership and engagement that we’re developing (and also discussed).

Socitm Consulting is now operating in accordance with a new MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) whilst we continue to negotiate the legal minutiae in order to put a new contract in-place, but we can be confident that benefits from the new relationship are now starting to accrue, and will be fully evident in our next financial year.

Our next meeting will be followed, in the evening, by the President’s dinner – one of the major events in the President’s calendar – and I guess the first major checkpoint on progress in the ambitious agenda that we’ve set-out. I hope for a good report but, in any event, recognise the need, fully, to re-engage with our membership and regions.

Having got the budget pretty much under control, and the major organisational changes needed for a sustainable, effective and efficient Society in-place, our September Board meeting will mark a new focus on ensuring that members really see the benefit from these changes.