I have now been Chair of the Partnership for over three years. During this time I feel that the partnership is moving forward well. Engagement is good and there is a balance between the technical issues that we are all facing and a greater regional involvement.
This year we have continued to face a lot of the same challenges which have occupied most of our time over recent years. Austerity continues to be the background against which we are all working. The situation is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.
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. We continued to extend our local networks, holding discussions with other public sector organisations in the NELEP area around ICT Security (through our ISNorthEast sub group), PSN and greater collaboration between organisations and with the wider digital community through SOCITM NE. We are playing a significant role in Dynamo North East, an organisation that is focussed on growing our industry in the north east. Extending our Partnership to include Stockton and Darlington Councils through Xentrall as an Associate Partner and renewing our relations with Nexus have proved to be beneficial developments. I’m particularly proud of what we’ve achieved with apprentices across the councils.
Eight Partnership meetings were held, including an AGM. At the start of the year we avoided meeting in months with a SOCITM NE meeting; in July and October we held meetings of the region’s public sector Heads of ICT immediately prior to SOCITM NE meetings. Meetings were throughout Partners’ offices, at Northumberland Fire and Rescue HQ, Nexus and at Ramside Hall Hotel near Durham.
Resources to support the Partnership remain secure – a financial plan remains in place securing the Partnership Analyst as a full time resource. A healthy, though diminishing, project fund remains available to support new collaborative initiatives.
I would like to thank Graham Jordan, our Partnership Analyst, without whose support we would struggle and my colleagues for their continued enthusiasm and support.
I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of colleagues in our Lead Authority (Durham County Council) ICT and Finance departments for helping with the smooth running of the Partnership and Chris Foreman of Sunderland ICT for supporting our website.