SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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The Be(a)st from the east!

2020 started pretty well, at least for most of us the journey to work, walk, train cycle, car or bus the chats in the office the coffee and the tea things felt pretty good for you and for me!

woman in a mask alone on a train

Our ‘normal’ was ‘fine’ our lives pretty OK life was predictable and so were many of our days we all had some nice forward plans to make and looked forward to perusing which summer holidays to take

However Jan through to Feb with news breaking fast a virus outbreak like no other, this is a big one that could last a strain of a past killer? – a new one in the mix? and one that as yet no one had identified a fix

‘It’s in China, its miles away it won’t affect us’ no need surely, to start making a fuss? however, Chris Witty, Matt H and our PM, Boris and the key scientists all had worrying news for us

A new language a new vocab, lockdown and slogans to help save our NHS from rapid contagion including significant illnesses and death advised to stay inside wash hands with the 20 second rule sing ‘Happy Birthday’ whilst washing keep safe – separate – don’t be a fool

For us in local govt, we were bombarded with HMG advice some vague, usually helpful, but greater clarity would have been nice! our businesses became vulnerable our residents desperate for help and support our response, immediate, measured, their cause was by us hard fought

A new way of working – new tech, Zoom and Microsoft Teams too occasional mirth also with experiments with different background views and seeing our staff now – like an episode of ‘Celebrity Squares’ as we adapted our working patterns changing how we connect and share

New services span up, new teams created, staff redeployment helped meet demand our role as giver and supporter to support those needing a helping hand millions in grants, given quickly to those with outlooks bleak and our response, justifiably well received by the press as ‘not a small feat’

Our aim was to ensure businesses and cash continued to flow recognising that so many of our business were forced to shut or close the swift introduction of helplines to support those having to stay at home meant that valuable help could be provided at the end of a phone

A coordinated effort to provide much needed support and essential foodstuffs to those identified as needing help – those ‘struggling to have enough’ in parallel with HMG we were lobbying and making some pretty big asks this was so much more than making space, isolating and provision of face masks

Across Socitm regions we switched to online to push out key messages and support in good time the Presidents Conference, the networking and face to face workshops were shelved but a switch to video conferencing solutions also meant that regional sessions could still be held new online sessions were booked, shorter but more frequent too meant that we could support our members and regions through Webex, Teams or Zoom

In the East new highs of event attendance, our numbers were well up! a reason to celebrate, raise a glass (or a tea cup!) so as a region loss of members is never a fear in fact our quality and relevance has gone up a gear!

So, 2020, some successes some learnings some heartache some pain not a year many of us will want to repeat again however like any good challenge what surfaces is the cream which is our awesome Socitm East region team!

Thank you SO much Kevin. We love it!

And as a reminder, please do join your Socitm East colleagues this year at our online Share Local meetings. We hope that these will be in person again soon.


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