Socitm Spring 2017: IT professionals association to team up with CCS

Written by Rebecca Hill on 28 April 2017 in News

G-Cloud contract term to be extended from two to four years as Socitm president says Crown Commercial Service “is really listening” to local government

Deal struck between Socitm and CCS to help better understand local government's needs - Photo credit: Flickr, Quinn Dobrowski, CC BY 2.0 

Socitm, the association for IT professionals in local government, has announced a partnership with the Crown Commercial Service to increase communication and understanding between the organisations.

Speaking at the association’s spring conference yesterday, president Geoff Connell – who has just started his second term in the role – said that one of his aims this year would be on building collaboration and partnerships with key government agencies.

“For me, the most difference I can make this year is focusing on the [National Cyber Security Centre] and CCS,” he said. “[It will] help us to better understand each other, and help them to create services and products that are fit for purpose for reuse for local government.”

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Connell said that he was pleased to announce a partnership with CCS to encourage such communication, and added that the organisation was “absolutely listening” to local government’s needs.

As an example of this, Connell said that CCS had agreed to change extend the maximum contract term length on G-Cloud, to make it easier for local government to procure solutions for some of the larger legacy systems councils have to deal with.

“One of the biggest complaints from local government was, ‘It’s really useful, but the two-year term is a real barrier for some of the services and systems we want to use it for’,” he said. “I can announce today that that’s being increased to four years.”

Socitm is also setting up a local government stakeholders group on procurement, similar to an existing group on cyber security, and urged councils to get not just their IT team involved, but also the people who work on procurement.

'Going beyond the smart city straight jacket'

The association also used the event to launch the final of its seven-part Smart Places guide, which focuses on people and communities.

Speaking at the conference, Socitm’s research and policy director Martin Ferguson said that the overall aim of the Smart Places project is about “going beyond the technocratic straight-jacket of the smart city concept”.

It looks at how technology can be used to help government create better places for people to live, work and spend time, but without putting technology before the value of people and communities.

The document includes advice for councils looking to build a smarter place, for instance on how to make the most of social media and crowdfunding to provide innovative services and engage citizens.

It also considers the prevalence of ‘fake news’, how digital exclusion can prevent people from making the most of technology and how councils can balance using data to provide better services with privacy concerns.

“It is easy to be frightened of technology and to preset a picture of a smart future which is like a dystopian sci-fi movie,” the document said.

“The development of smart places must recognise and deal with true risks and citizen concerns to harness the exciting opportunity that the power of IT can offer for social, environmental and economic good.”

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