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IT chiefs should break 'tin and wires' perception



New Socitm president Geoff Connell urges public sector IT leaders to become more prominent in business change

Socitm's new president has urged IT leaders in government to play up their role in business change, escaping from the perception of them as “tin and wires” geeks.

Geoff Connell (pictured), director of ICT services for oneSource – the IT providers for the London Boroughs of Newham and Havering – took on the role at the organisation's spring conference.

He warned that as IT service management becomes increasingly commoditised it will be seen as less valuable unless its leaders play a more active role in business change.

His experience at Newham and Havering provides an example, with the IT team having worked closely with the councils' business leaders to use intelligence and technology to change operating models and the way services are delivered. They have also aimed to re-use IT strategies and policies, design approaches, and individual technology components that have been created for one purpose, in other environments.

It follows the mantra of the Local Public Service CIO Council to “simplify, standardise and share”.

Connell is also following the precedent of his Socitm predecessor Nadira Hussein in emphasising the importance of workplace diversity, based on the view that providing appropriate, relevant services is only possible if the local authority workforce reflects its customer base.

He has pointed to oneSource, which has won award for its apprenticeships and success stories, as an example.

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