I have been working within Local Government for the last 20 years, working my way steadily through the ranks from being a man in a van getting my hands dirty to the managerial position I’m in now.
I’ve worked at three authorities and advised most of the others in the immediate area of my current employer on how to get the best out of their technology. During those twenty years I’ve seen a lot of changes, political, financial but most of all operational.
For nearly three quarters of those years I’ve been tasked with introducing technology into the somewhat traditional ways of local government. Most recently I’ve been deeply involved in projects that are concerned with channel shift and transformation. As anyone that has been part of such a project knows these are tasks that require many hats!
It’s because of these experiences, both good and bad, that I was invited by Abavus to contribute some of my own opinion pieces here and to share some insight into what can be a daunting but hopefully rewarding task. I wanted to do this without identifying myself so that I can speak honestly and openly about the challenges that UK local government faces and how it is going about organising itself to meet these technological and transformational challenges.
Over this series of blogs I hope to take you on a journey from the early days of my career where mobile communication was a two way radio and we only had one computer that was green screen and used by the admin clerk, through to current day where we all have a smart phone and can access work, emails and information in an agile way, and onto what I see as the future of an IT-enabled local government authority.
My journey has been full of successes and the odd failure. Never fear failure though as sometimes you can make a bigger leap forward from these than from your successes. I’ve also encountered more than my fair share of what I could only describe as “technology blindness”, some of it institutionalised, some of it just pure ignorance. Now I don’t blame anyone for either of these, but you ignore these people at your peril as they can scupper any project before it starts. I once sat with a Head of Service and had a very lengthy conversation convincing him that the implementation of the new database that he wanted to purchase for the entire service would take slightly more work to get it operational than just putting the disk in the PC!
I hope you’ll enjoy my experiences over the coming months and get some useful insight that you can apply to projects that you’re involved in, or even better maybe I’ll inspire you to join me on the journey. As the late David Bowie once said “Tomorrow belongs to those that can hear it coming.”