Chair's review 2011-2012

Chair’s Review of 2011-2012 (from the AGM)

Tom Baker recalled that in his first year as Chair Partners had seen

  • Significant budget cuts
  • Emergence of new service delivery models and in-patch sharing of ICT services
  • New government initiatives such as G-cloud and PSN
  • Continued pressures of the austerity measures with associated budget reductions, staffing reductions and rapid building rationalisation programmes
  • Changes in Partnership representation
  • Further challenges posed by outsourcing of ICT operations
  • Increased in-sourcing of curriculum networks and schools services to ICT
  • Significant investment in parts of the region’s ICT communications infrastructure by telecoms operators leading to increased BDUK pressures
  • Increased calls to enable access to corporate data and services on portable devices such as iPads and iPhones

We also saw an increased recognition of the value of the role of the Partnership:

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




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

PSN (general and commissioned consultancy)

Greater understanding of the implications of and opportunities afforded by Government policy.

New relationships with other public sector bodies in the region.


Secure collaborative workspace for the Region

Identification of available solutions to avoid duplication and expensive third party services. 


Urban Traffic management Control

Facilitated engagement of the ICT sections in a sub-regional project seeking to integrate data sources across the councils.

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

Agile Project Management

Greater understanding of the workings and potential benefits of Agile Project Management techniques.

To maximise opportunities for jointly procuring ICT goods and services

Multifunction device procurement

Joint procurement between Gateshead andSouth Tyneside


Systems and Contracts analysis / Applications Consolidation


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. 

Regional ICT infrastructure

Awareness of bids being developed in the region for next generation access.



Participation in Regional multi-sector ICT discussions; access to emerging national policies, knowledge and resources, potential joint activities.


Working with local universities

Maintaining relationships with local university ‘technology’ initiatives, especially around social inclusion; access to knowledge, resources and information about funding sources.

Tom suggested that more on PSN, collaboration and working more closely together would form part of the Partnership’s ongoing work.

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.  Balances remain available to support new collaborative initiatives; a revised Partnership Agreement incorporating Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council is being developed along with a financial plan to 2016.

In 2011-12, seven Partnership meetings were held, plus an AGM and two away-days. One of the meetings was held at the Urban Traffic Management Control centre at Newcastle University and the away days were held at the Evolve Centre near Houghton-le-Spring.

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. 

Linkages with colleagues in other public bodies in the region, including universities, police, fire & rescue and health were strengthened, especially around the Public Service Network.

Tom thanked colleagues for their continued enthusiasm and support, in particular colleagues from our Associate Partners Durham County Council, Northumberland County Council and Nexus.

Tom expressed his appreciation of the contribution made by Howard Smith, who stood down in September as Chair of the North East Security Group which he had nurtured into the most popular and longest-sustained of our forums for ICT practitioners in the area, enabling colleagues from the across the north east public sector to share and develop their information security knowledge, experience and skills.

Finally, Tom thanked colleagues in Sunderland Finance and ICT Services for helping with the smooth running of the partnership, Chris Foreman of Sunderland ICT for supporting our website and its rebranding and Graham Jordan, the Partnership Analyst.

Written by Graham Jordan. Published on .
Chair’s Review of 2011-2012 (from the AGM) Tom Baker recalled that in his first year as Chair Partners had seen