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All change as Socitm welcomes in new leadership

IT leaders can be “enablers, innovators and shapers of business change” the new president of Socitm has said.

Geoff Connell, who took over as president of the professional organisation for IT and digital professionals working in local public services at its spring conference, said that local government ICT staff should not be pigeonholed as “tin and wires geeks”.

Connell has worked in ICT for the London Borough of Newham since 2001, progressing to head of IT, then chief information officer (CIO). He is now director of ICT for oneSource, the joint committee shared service set up by Newham and Havering authorities.

It is vital that local authorities reflect the society they serve by becoming increasingly digitalised, in order to provide the most accessible and efficient services, he added.

Socitm already aims to further this goal through their surveys of local authority online services and their support for the Local Digital Coalition, and will hopefully continue to promote a more technologically streamlined public sector under Connell’s leadership.

Similarly, Connell also intends to pursue his predecessor Nadira Hussain, originator of the Women in IT campaign, in promoting workplace diversity in order to ensure that local authority digital services reflect their customer base.

Connell said: “I really want to promote the benefits of diversity more widely and particularly in terms of youth and apprenticeships.

“I have a 16-year-old daughter who is planning to do ICT at A Level. And so I have a family interest in seeing school-age girls understand the positive opportunities available in the public sector. It’s not just coding, and coding isn’t just for boys!”

Nicola Graham, head of ICT at Aberdeenshire Council, became the new vice-president.

(Top image: Geoff Connell receiving his presidential chain at Socitm’s Spring Conference 2016, in central London, 21 April 2016. Left to right: Nadira Hussain, Socitm past president; Geoff Connell, Socitm President; Adrian Hancock, Socitm CEO. Image c. Socitm)


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