SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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Digital leaders set to debate the future of public services

ICT professionals from across the UK are set to gather in Glasgow next month for a major conference to discuss how to deliver public services more effectively, ethically and securely.

The inaugural Socitm President’s Conference on 8-9 May brings together CIOs, CTOs, CDOs and ICT directors in the public sector to exchange best practice, share experience, network and collaborate.

They will be joined by a stellar programme of speakers as attendees are provided with an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the best in the business: the leaders who have experienced the highs and lows, benefits and challenges, of harnessing the power of tech to transform services.

Martin Ferguson, Socitm’s director of policy and research, will take to the stage as keynote speaker on the first day of the association’s flagship event to share his insights into what lies in store for the future of public services.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Ferguson said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming an exceptional line-up of speakers and exhibitors to the President’s Conference to showcase their innovative products and share their experiences and insights into the future of public service delivery.

“We’re particularly excited to be producing the entire event in-house this year, and our talented and experienced team has taken exhaustive guidance from our members and commercial partners to design a conference that delivers the engaging and relevant content our members need, whilst offering the genuine engagement opportunities our commercial partners demand.”

Digital strategist and trend analyst Kristin Heinonen will kick off the first session, which is devoted to ‘citizen and community engagement’. She will explore the growing role of the ‘digital citizen’ in Sweden. An antipodean example of re-design will follow, leading into a panel debate on how the public sector can make best use of citizen inputs to shape services.

Session two will be dedicated to ‘ethical automation’, where leaders including Dr Mariarosaria Taddeo, a research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute and deputy director of its digital ethics laboratory, will consider how to ensure automation always serves the best interests of residents and the workforce serving them.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in the Scottish Government, will deliver the keynote address on the second day of the conference. 

His address will be followed by a session focusing on the challenges faced in balancing the growing demand for more accessible services and systems with an ever-expanding threat horizon. Bill Buchanan, lead for The Cyber Academy and Edinburgh Napier professor, will kick-off the debate presenting his innovative work on Secret Shares and sharing some of the latest thinking on the future prospects, threats and opportunities posed by cybersecurity for public services.

The final session will take a closer look at how digital leaders can drive innovation in public services through new delivery models, new technologies and new ways of thinking. Theo Blackwell, London's first Chief Digital Officer (CDO); Martyn Wallace, CDO for the Scottish Local Government Digital Office; and Alexander Holt, head of the Scottish Government CivTech Programme, will all be sharing their insights.

Major vendors have come together to commercially support the conference, too. These sponsors include, at the highest, Presidential level, Trend Micro and SBL, with a number of other key sector vendors set to offer information at the show, too.

The interactive programme also comprises training sessions, coaching classes, lightning talks, the Socitm AGM and a meeting of the Local Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council. Plus, there’s the President’s Dinner and auction in aid of Headway – a UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury.

Head of ICT at Aberdeenshire Council, Nicola Graham, will take over the role of Socitm President from Geoff Connell at the event.

For details on how to register for the conference, including sponsorship or exhibitor opportunities, visit


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