Roy Sheehan reported that 2009/2010 has been another year of significant change.
A renewed five year financial agreement was secured along with a wholesale revision of the Partnership Agreement.
Northumberland and Durham counties had undergone re-organisation, and the number of councils in the Region reduced from 25 to 12. Lawrence Thompson left Newcastle City Council, Tom Baker was appointed at Sunderland City Council, Phil Jackman was appointed at Durham and Peter Gallon is retiring from Northumberland at the end of March. TWICT’s Partners and Associates now represent the majority of north east local authorities.
Finances remain secure – a financial plan to March 2014 is in place, securing the Partnership Analyst as a full time resource for the Partnership and a healthy balance remains available to support new collaborative initiatives.
To ensure the Partnership’s activities reflect and support local priorities TWICT has reviewed its work programme and reprioritised initiatives.
Significant work was undertaken to transform the original 2002 Memorandum of Understanding to take on board recent guidance and practice for partnerships, resulting in a new 20-page Partnership Agreement.
Nine Partnership meetings were held, along with specially convened workshops and meetings of the 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.
A wide range of topics supporting the Partnerships objectives were considered, enabling shared lessons learned and understanding, benchmarking, avoidance of duplication and interfaces with relevant regional and national bodies and initiatives.
Roy Sheehan stated that challenges in the coming year will include significantly increased pressure on budgets alongside restructuring and the conclusion of Job Evaluation / Single Status; given the pressure on budgets it is likely that joint working and shared services will move higher up the agenda as means of achieving efficiencies and avoiding unnecessary cost. Identifying and prioritising joint initiatives that support wider local agendas and financial situations will be key to the success of the Partnership in 2010/2011.
Thanks were recorded to colleagues for their continued enthusiasm and support, in particular Peter Gallon from Northumberland who, as an Associate and also Chair of SOCITM NE, has been a long-standing advocate of the Partnership. Thanks were also recorded to colleagues in Gateshead Finance and ICT Services for helping with the smooth running of the partnership, Chris Foreman of Sunderland for supporting the website and Graham Jordan, the Partnership Analyst.