I have had a busy, but productive year as President of Socitm. The change of government and enormous pressure on public service finances have meant that my original expectations for the role and the year ahead have had to somewhat change.
Despite the turmoil and challenges, these changes have opened up new opportunities for IT generally and have increased the profile of Socitm. As a result, the voice of Socitm has become much louder and more compelling. I, and others in Socitm, have been asked to speak at events on shared services, public service efficiency, the role of public sector in economic growth, citizen empowerment and much more. Indeed, it has been less common that I have spoken about anything directly related to technology.
This year has also seen the emergence of social networking as a force for good, 'cloud' computing and the new Government ICT strategy. All have been topics Socitm has addressed and will continue to do so in the forthcoming Routemap.
At the start of the year set I out some personal priorities, especially in developing the contribution I wanted to make to change in the breadth and vision for Socitm: expanding membership beyond the traditional Heads of IT and local government; working with the private sector much more openly; building affiliations with other organisations. Our success in these areas is due credit to the professionals within Socitm and the support of many colleagues. I believe we now have a much broader foundation to develop our future services and influence.
I have tried to use the role to ensure that IT professionals in the public sector are better understood and better represented, especially in local public services planning and policy. This includes persuading key decision makers across the public sector to engage more openly and actively with their IT professional teams. In particular, I have strongly advocated that IT must be seen as a centre of innovation, an agent of change, and a differentiator of exceptional public service and efficiency - not just as a support service, a utility or a back office function, often as too risky. Others have taken up this mantra as strongly as I have, and Socitm's profile recently at the Public Accounts Committee speaks for itself in this respect.
I feel sure I have gained much more than I have been able to give during my year as President. I have made valuable contacts and new friends. I have learned much from the experience of working with so many talented professionals. And I have a far greater knowledge of what Socitm does and the contribution we make. I was privileged to take on the role and I feel privileged to have had so many opportunities during the year.
Above all, I am hugely indebted to so many people at Hampshire and across Socitm, without whose help, encouragement and support I would not have done half as much.