We couldn't have known that June 27th would turn out to be such an amazing day for us to have chosen to host a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons and we did wonder what the impact would be on it when Tony Blair announced that was going to be his departure date!
We were there to showcase some of the great work that has been done in Local Government with IT related projects. Unfortunately the adverse weather meant that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council were unable to make it - they'd been due to show their work on authenticating employees.
Our other 5 projects were all there and luckily our event went very well - perhaps we even got more attendees because there were so many people in the House that day!
The people supporting the other 5 projects were certainly very pleased with the opportunity they got to show what they'd been doing and to meet their colleagues from the other projects.
We had representatives from The Black Country Consortium talking about their incredibly ambitious plans to raise the aspirations of their citizens to radically transform their area over the next 30 years! Now that really does feel like long term planning to us in the IT industry where we're normally only able to see a horizon of about 3-5 years. We're working with them to help provide an extensive set of IT skills programmes.
Derby City Council were there showing how they've used IT to make major improvements to the way they interact with and service their citizens, they're now looking in particular at citizen authentication. We're working on producing a video of this which should be out soon so I'll post a link here as soon as we get it.
The use of IT to support Social Care was showcased by Kent County Council, they're well known for their great work with TeleHealth and TeleCare and now they're starting to look at enabling their Social Care staff to use IT to a much greater extent while they're out of the office visiting citizens in their homes. They’re working in partnership with Wakefield Metropolitan Borough Council on this as they’ve already done some initial work with us in this area. See this video if you’d like to learn more.
At the London Borough of Newham they've done a couple of really interesting projects with us and our partners recently. "Manager on the Move" looked at how the productivity of front-line service managers could be improved using mobile technologies - SmartPhones with Windows Mobile 6 and also collaboration technologies such as Groove which lets you share files and folders with colleagues and enable you to have access to these even when you're not connected to your network. See this video if you’d like to learn more.
Finally we had a great group along from the Pewsey Area Community Trust. Pewsey is a village in Wiltshire of about 3000 people. The Community Trust rented a shop in the High Street and started providing free Internet access - with the support of various grants. Then they got asked to start providing IT training. Now they've expanded into a much bigger centre and they're providing all sorts of services to a very mixed set of people - including teenagers, silver surfers and migrant workers.
Angela Smith - outgoing Parliamentary Under Secretary of State from the Dept of Communities - kindly said a few words, highlighting the importance of IT for helping people to make a difference to them and their communities. We'd also like to thank Alun Michael MP and Andrew Miller MP for being our sponsors on the day.
Posted by Ellen