Plant the Flag: Think about outcomes

Filed under: Governance,Outcomes,Policy,Strategy — lenand @ 10:26 am

Dedicated followers of Socitm will know that the five year forward strategy is called “Planting the Flag”.  It was published in May 2011 and yesterday was a timely review in a joint meeting with the local CIO Council.  Progress is being made on “Planning the Routes” and “Driving the Routes”.  The diversity of size and responsibility of Socitm members is such that one size cannot possibly fit all.  The documents can only be considered as frameworks for action.  As one speaker pointed out, best practice is backward looking, and less important if we are trying to encourage innovation and transforming business processes.

“Planting the Flag sets out three core principles (collaborate, redesign and innovate), six strategic capabilities (leadership, governance, organisational change, strategic commissioning, shared services and professionalism) and six key issues around information and technology that are key to redesigning local public services – faster, cheaper, better – delivering better for less in ways citizens want. “

One group, consisting mainly of CIOs, pointed their problem is communicating the messages to their chief officers and members.  The the names of the stages are a metaphor of planning a trek into the high peaks of the Alps.  That’s fine for invigorating a live audience – but it gets in the way of releasing budget for doing things differently.  Most concerning was that the strategy does address the practical problems of delivering IT enabled services to citizens – it is not driven by the outcomes that are at the forefront of delivery agencies’ agenda.

Everybody in the room bought into those principles and capabilities – but they are essentially inward looking to the ICT profession.  They are not the issues that attract support from democratic or service leadership.  When CIOs go back to their patches, they are faced with translating the strategy and briefing notes into something digestible for supporting business cases for change.  The advice has to fit into the local political agenda.

Nobody is saying that is a simple job for Socitm – but there is a need for a simpler message for a broader range of stakeholders.  Neither should it be just for local authorities; it has to go out to health, police, emergency services, transport and innumerable voluntary sector agencies.


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