by Richard Steel

Two steps back

Mar 10, 20092 mins
IT Strategy

On Monday I missed the Socitm Futures meeting, as I took leave for my Father-in-Law’s funeral. However, Adrian told me that the meeting was excellent, and Martin Ferguson played a crucial role in facilitating a very productive session. I’ll aim to feature this in the next President’s report.

I spent Tuesday on a return trip to Barnsley, where I met with the Council’s European and Regional Strategy Officer, and the Head of Information Strategy, to discuss the Digital South Yorkshire Partnership (covering Barnsley, Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster) and potential synergies with Newham’s Telecommunications Convergence programme.

Last October a a Sporting and Cultural Development Partnership was launched between Barnsley Metropolitan Council and the London Borough of Newham, which provided the context for our productive meeting.

We agreed outline proposals for the establishment of a formal liaison mechanism for sharing information and experiences, potential joint development/ technology transfer/ asset reuse, and strategy development, which would be in both our interests.

Among the positive initiatives supporting greater joining up and co-operation between the Central and Local public sectors, last year, was the appointment of Kevin Hayes to lead Central-Local Government liaison on Information Assurance matters, so I was surprised and disappointed to hear from Kevin, yesterday, that early termination of this role had been decided.

I’ve replied to Kevin, protesting the decision, which is short-sighted and comes at a time when we are just starting to see the fruits of Kevin’s work in a dawning realisation of the importance of pan-Government Security and Information Assurance policy and infrastructure.

I fear that the early discontinuance of this role – at a time when there’s intense pressure on everyone to deliver efficiency savings, will be seized on as a further opportunity to pare back activities to a minimum – setting us right back where we started.