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Update to councils on the ongoing discussions with Microsoft

Meeting 13th February 2019

Attendees: Chris Perkins (CP - Microsoft), Daniel Batts (DB - Microsoft), Faith La Grange (FLG - Microsoft), Sarah Pickup (SP - LGA), Tina Holland (TH - LGA), Myron Hrycyk (MH - Cabinet Office), Benjamin Paynter (BP - CCS), Rachel Butlin (RB - CCS), Nadira Hussain (NH - Socitm)

Socitm, LGA and CCS are continuing to meet with Microsoft colleagues to work through the issues and concerns that have been raised regarding price increases by our members. These meetings will be an ongoing feature so that we can strengthen our relationship with Microsoft and between the various parties and to continue to lobby our sectorial views.  

Since the last meeting in December, Microsoft have shared with us data that shows councils engaged along with current agreement termination dates and whether the agreements cover on-premise or cloud licenses.  From this we can estimate each council’s ‘propensity’ to move towards cloud-based services.  LGA and Socitm have added further information to the data so that we can also undertake regional and council-type analysis.

Microsoft, in common with other software providers has a ‘cloud first’ policy and wishes to move all of its services to the cloud.  This is the point of the DTA agreement they have already negotiated with CCS.  It is argued that use of cloud technology is better value and safer in terms of cyber security.  It is recognised that moving to cloud technology will be a financial and culture struggle for many councils.

We had previously agreed that Microsoft would work with five councils to help them to understand how they can make best use of the technology they are already procuring from Microsoft and we were waiting for Microsoft to provide us with a Terms of Reference document for this work.  

We also discussed developing a standardised commercial strategy for the next three years following the affordability challenge being articulated by councils.  It was agreed that Microsoft would engage with CCS to with reference to the DTA to consider if there is any possibility of realigning this to meet local government need in particular.

It was also agreed that where councils are experiencing particular problems with pricing that they should get in touch with their reseller account team. It would be really helpful if this applies to you that you cc in Microsoft/LGA/Socitm in order that we can keep a record of the extent of the issue using the following email addresses: Faith La Grange Faith.La@microsoft.com, Tina Holland Tina.Holland@local.gov.uk and Nadira Hussain nadira.hussain@socitm.net


Actions from the meeting were:

  • FLG to finalise the ToR offering Microsoft (MS) support to five local authorities by cop Friday 22nd Feb. ToR to incorporate:
    • A base-lining exercise to ensure right-sizing of licenses via the reseller
    • The Microsoft Account Team to offer input to determine that the right mix of licenses is in place
    • Ensuring that the benefit and value that can be obtained from the current services is being realised through access to the ‘fast track’ arrangement
    • Extending the offer of other value-add services if the specific council is ready and responsive to greater support via other new products/services. Establishing a discrete outcome to demonstrate the potential further value-add as a subsequent phase of the ToR.
  • NH to review the proposed ToR and share with LGA and CCS colleagues for completeness. NH to write to key contacts to inform them of the approach being recommended of the ToR and associated timeframe for support arrangements to commence.
  • MS have been requested to give consideration to the core components of a commercial strategy, focusing on:
    • Clarity about the technical roadmap over the next 18-36 months
    • Commercial construct to underpin the roadmap
    • Determination of a pricing model; set at a point where we can help the sector achieve the necessary journey and outcomes
    • Segmentation approach (those with 50% or less cloud propensity) – how is MS going to help councils to improve their adoption of cloud.
  • CCS to meet with MS to discuss the points above as well as the possible fine-tuning of the DTA arrangements to ensure that they reflect the needs of the sector.
  • Members/council’s who are experiencing difficulties/want to discuss the renewal aspect to be encouraged to talk directly to their account teams and to inform Socitm/LGA/FLG who will co-ordinate any feedback.  LGA/Socitm will aim to have all the information to be able to hold a record of which LAs have received help/pricing concessions from MS and what this actually amounts to.
  • Continue with the relationship building through ongoing joint meetings and a presence from MS at Socitm regional forums, conferences and other events where we can collectively share updates and progress.


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Keynote announced – Share Cymru 2019

Do you have 21st May circled in your diary yet? If the answer is no, not yet, then hopefully this news will change that!

We are delighted to be welcoming Welsh Governments Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, Rebecca Evans, to deliver the keynote address at our third annual Cymru event.

Rebecca, who has overall Government digital policy and strategy responsibilities within the Welsh Government, will be speaking to our delegates at our event in Cardiff, answering your pressing questions and addressing the topics on everyone’s mind.

Don’t delay, get yourself registered to get front row seats for one of the most anticipated events of the year


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Our February Leadership Academy advocate



Top Talent, where do I begin….?  I was relatively new to leadership roles within my workplace and felt I could do with improving my leadership skills.

I had attended internal training courses, which were a good foundation, but I felt that I needed a course which was more in depth.  I had heard of the programme through other colleagues who were graduates of previous Top Talent courses and I’d also taken the opportunity to research the course from the Socitm website and spoke with others further about the course and what it would deliver for me as a leader.  After gathering the more information, I decided to apply for the course.  The course was terrifically set out all the way from receiving the invites for applicants to apply, to the graduation dinner!

The application process allowed me to self-reflect on my own skills and build a picture of where I needed to improve.  During the workshops and the separate coaching that is received, I was able to identify key areas where I felt I needed to improve my skills, self-belief and confidence. This was facilitated by reviewing our personal values and beliefs, through the discussions and the role-playing exercises.

Having attended the programme,  allowed me to step forward to present feedback about our experiences at the Soctim Scotland Conference; something completely outside of my comfort zone!  In doing this, it has allowed me to begin to challenge myself and improve on my leadership skills.  Skills I had, but never utilised fully.  This is no longer the case!

I believe the benefits of attending this course has allowed me to improve my own skill set but also enabled me to grow.  At the time of the course I was the Team Lead for ICT Support, And now, since the course, I have developed my leadership skills to focus on not only managing the ICT Department, but also other areas within the Council.  I firmly believe that without participating in this programme I would not have been able to gain the promotion to my current post within East Dunbartonshire Council as Digital & Shared Services Manager, responsible for ICT, Internal Shared Services and the
Revenues & Benefits Teams.

It was a great experience and one that I would recommend to anyone wishing to
enhance their leadership skills within government and to grab with both hands!

By Gavin Haire
Digital and Shared Services Manager at East Dunbartonshire Council

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Our Guide to a safer internet experience

safer-internet-day-blogartboard 1@1x

As IT professionals, we have an obligation to provide safe and secure internet to all those who may use it within your organisation. As part of this obligation, internal training goes a long way. Go out into the main office and ask someone if they know what phishing is?  What was the response?

Providing training to staff is the first step towards making your workplace that little bit safer, by making people aware of the risks and the do’s and don’ts of the internet.

Let’s take one example – Phishing

Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

What to look out for?

  • Poor English/grammatical errors
    • One of the biggest tell-tale signs is the structure of the email
  • Who is the email addressed to?
    • Phishing emails tend to have generic titles for example Dear Sir / Madam, Dear Email@email.co.uk
  • Is the offer too good to be true?
    • Click this link to win £10000 pounds. Your long-lost relative has left you £40000, I just need your bank information

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But you will be surprised how many slip though the net.

Let’s take one more example – Online Banking
Something we take for granted, having access to your bank anywhere anytime. This level of freedom comes with risk:

  • Internet connection- when you’re at a coffee shop, do you connect to their public wi-fi?
    • Snoopers can be looking at the traffic coming from your device and steal your personal data
    • Recommendation: Use a VPN on your mobile device or use your mobile data network.
  • Public computers/work computers – when using your online banking websites.
    • Do you click remember my username/password? This means that the next person to use that device maybe able to see your information
    • Recommendation:Use an in-private browser, or incognito mode or click ‘Do not Remember username and password’

The above is just a few examples of how to stay safe online, whether it’s checking your emails or checking your bank balance.

For more information visit https://www.getsafeonline.org/ where you’ll find all the information you need.



Find out more about the Safer internet Day here: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2019


By Adam Goldsmith – MBCS

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Latest publicationsSee all publications >

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Inform Report - Cyber risk - cyber risk futures - Part 5

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Inform Report - Cyber risk - where to start cyber planning - Part 4

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Inform Report - Cyber risk - taking advantage of external resources - Part 3

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Inform Report - Cyber risk - people teams and cyber roles - Part 2

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