Top speakers and three good reasons not to miss Socitm2011.
Socitm 2011 is shaping up nicely. The keynote speakers that we've attracted are as impressive a list as ever. They include Mike Bracken, the Government's Executive Director of Digital and Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council. The ability to attract such high profile contributors again illustrates the importance now attached by others to engaging with Socitm - in other words, we are now seen as worth doing business with. To complement their perspectives, the roundtables provide the opportunity for more detailed engagement and the breadth of topics that will be covered means that there will truly be something for everyone. And of course there are the social events. The conference provides a great opportunity for meeting up with ex-colleagues and friends whom you haven't seen since the previous year - not least to catch up with the latest gossip about shared acquaintances.
Of course, at a time when all budgets are under unprecedented pressure and all public sector expenditure subject to intense scrutiny, it is perhaps tempting to decide to give the conference a miss this year. A temptation to be resisted, I feel, for three reasons.
First, Socitm 2011 provides the opportunity to gain a real understanding of how the national digital policy agenda is developing. This is bound to impact significantly on the delivery of local public services and it is always true that forewarned is forearmed.
Second, the conference provides the chance to learn how others are addressing the challenges we all face. Importantly, the conference format means you can dig behind their approach; to ask not only what went well but what didn't, to understand how relevant it is to you. This is rarely available through alternative approaches - for example, reading case studies - other than by personal visit, a far more time consuming approach.
Third, Socitm 2011 is a superb opportunity to network. Its importance is recognised this year by the first evening's dinner being specifically designated a networking event. Our ability to network with our peers from a diversity of backgrounds - different types of organisation from different geographies serving different demographics - will be critical in helping us transition from 'survive' back to 'thrive'.
So, yes, there is a modest price for attending Socitm 2011 but its value far outweighs its cost. I look forward to welcoming you, sharing with you and networking with you.
Glyn Evans, Socitm President