Roy Sheehan reported that 2010/2011 had seen the start of some of the greatest change that ICT sections will have experienced in the past 20 years.
The financial pressures of the austerity measures introduced by the coalition Government had led to a reduction in spending of around 10% in 2010-2011. This had inevitably impacted on staffing levels, services, and support.
Anticipated future cuts mean that the shape and nature of ICT services provided in March 2013 will by significantly different from today.
Roysuggested that there will be greater emphasis on combining resources and collaborative working and increasing outside influence on partnership working and sharing ICT services dictating pace of change. Identifying and prioritising joint initiatives that support our wider local agendas and financial situations will be key to the success of the Partnership in the coming years.
Communication with neighbouring councils and other public bodies about how we are each addressing these challenges and collaboration to reduce the effort needed to react to change reinforces the continuing relevance of the Partnership.
Resources to support the Partnership remain secure – a financial plan to March 2014 remains in place, securing the Partnership Analyst as a full time resource. A healthy balance remains available to support new collaborative initiatives.
In 2010-11, ten Partnership meetings were held, plus an AGM. One of the meetings was hosted byDurhamat Tanfield and one byNewcastleat the Civic Centre. 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.
Significantly, we made new linkages with colleagues in other public bodies in the region, including universities, police, fire & rescue and health, especially around Public Service Network. We will look to see how we can more actively engage them and track developments with initiatives where funding is ceasing, such asSunderlandSoftwareCityand the RIEP.
To ensure the Partnership’s activities reflect and support local priorities we reviewed our work programme and reprioritised initiatives.
Roy thanked colleagues for their continued enthusiasm and support, in particular colleagues from our Associate Partner ONE North East which along with the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership ceases in March 2011.
Roy also thanked colleagues in Gateshead Finance and ICT Services for helping with the smooth running of the partnership, Chris Foreman of Sunderland for supporting our website and Graham Jordan, the Partnership Analyst.