2013/14 - review of NEICT's Year

2013/14 was my first full year as Chair of the Partnership.  It has been an interesting year to say the least and I suspect that we have another one on the way.  As a group I feel that we have been much more engaged and looked at some of the wider issues affecting us all.

Significantly, we

  • Re-launched our security managers network, ISNorthEast and registered it as the local government WARP for the north east.
  • Held a one day ‘Enabling Safe Business‘ event to examine the balance between PSN and other security regimes and the need to not constrain business operations.
  • Established a regional ‘PSN leads’ group for information exchange and peer support which helped the region become one of the first where all councils were compliant.
  • Revised our Partnership Agreement to reflect Durham and Northumberland becoming full Partners.
  • Continued detailed discussions about co-delivering some ICT services
  • Continued to build our national networks with the Cabinet Office, the Local CIO Council, Local Data Panel, Microsoft Shared Learning Group and the Technology Strategy Board.
  • Continued to extend our local networks, holding discussions with other public sector organisations in the LEP area about ICT Security, PSN and greater collaboration between organisations and with the wider digital community through Digital Union,  SOCITMNE, Digital Leaders (North East) and DynamoNorthEast.

We also faced continued challenges:

  • A zero-tolerance regime for PSN compliance
  • Continued pressure on staffing and financial resources
  • Increased pace of organisational change and building rationalisation programmes
  • Increased responsibility for curriculum networks and schools services to ICT
  • Sustained pressure to enable access to corporate data and services on portable devices such as tablets and mobile phones
  • Pressure to implement infrastructure to support new service delivery models
  • Change in representation from a number of Partners

Identifying and delivering joint initiatives that can ease common issues and address the common challenges that we are facing with capacity, capability and our ability to help our organisations respond to change will be key to the success of the Partnership in the coming years. 

This year, perhaps more than previously, we all faced a lot of the same challenges which have occupied most of our time.  We have been able to consult, advise and share information on PSN compliance that has strengthened the trust and working relationships between Partners at Head of Service and other levels; informal discussions with colleagues in outsourced environments have proved especially valuable.

Resources to support the Partnership remain secure – a financial plan remains in place securing the Partnership Analyst as a full time resource.  A project fund remains available to support new collaborative initiatives.

In 2013-14, eight Partnership meetings were held, plus an AGM. Meetings were held at a number of Partners’ offices. 

Specially convened workshops and meetings of our sub groups, enabling heads of IT and middle managers to share good practice, explore joint working and mutual support, and keep track of developments in policy and technology were also held.  In particular, and with our minds particularly focussed on PSN compliance, ISNorthEast provided a valued forum for discussing concerns and sharing information about security procedures.

To ensure the Partnership’s activities reflect and support local priorities we reviewed our work programme and reprioritised initiatives.

Through the Partnership we jointly considered a wide range of subjects, including:

To develop new, and exploit existing, ICT infrastructure and applications.

  • Discussions around a regional collaboration platform
  • Discussions around co-delivering ICT services
  • Participated in a number of activities to ensure the integrity of our operations:
    • Discussions with Y&H WARP
    • PSN Summit
    • PSNGB events
    • National PSNIA and SAG workshops
    • Mobile endpoints project
    • Met with GovCertUK
    • Established WARP alerts for security community

To grow, share and develop knowledge, experience, skills and professionalism within the ICT community

  • Events around business cases for security investment and authentication
  • Revised our ‘skills sharing protocol’
  • Considered an apprenticeship programme

To maximise opportunities for jointly procuring ICT goods and services

  • Regional PSN events held and workshops facilitated
  • Intranet intentions

To help shape the use of ICT in the North East for the benefit of the residents, people who work here and those who visit the region. 

  • Discussions around making it easier for employees to work in another council’s buildings through guest Wi-Fi
  • Attended a number of events to ensure relevance of our activities and to identify opportunities for the region:
    • NELEP Review and AGM
    • Thinking Digital Conference
    • Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum
    • Gateway to Opportunity Event in Sunderland
    • NorthumbriaUniversity Innovation Sandpit


I believe that the NEICT has a role to play in developing and supporting ICT across the region and that we have the will and determination within the group to make a difference.  I would like to thank colleagues for their continued enthusiasm and support.

Finally, I would also like to thank colleagues in our Lead Authority (Sunderland City Council) ICT and Finance departments for helping with the smooth running of the Partnership, Chris Foreman of Sunderland ICT for supporting our website and Graham Jordan, our Partnership Analyst.



Phil Jackman

March 2014

Graham Jordan. Sent on .