IT at the Party Conferences 2011

I have looked through the LibDem, Labour and Conservative Conference Guides for IT related events and exhibitors. Everything Everywhere has events at all three conferences on the theme “Digitally Connected: empowering people, society and prosperity”. Fujitsu is supporting Business in the Community events on the theme “Transforming Business, transforming communities” and running its own events on “Broadband, is 100% coverage possible?”. Microsoft is supporting events with Demos and others on 21st Century Skills, under a variety of titles. For obvious reasons I plan to attend one of the Demos events on “What the Doctor Ordered: Can data transparency revolutionise public services?”. I also liked the title of the Policy Exchange Events on “School Accountability in the Digital Age: information overload or genuine choice”. The titles of these events  reminded me that I have yet to blog on “Improving the Evidence Base” ,  released by the EURIM Quality of Information group at the Local Government conference in June. It is polite but devastating in its conclusions. Its recommendations are fundamental to success of the Government’s transparency agenda. 

The Big Society and the need to reform public service delivery are well covered at the party conferences – but not the need to put these  into the context of the challenges for ICT suppliers and users – although the LIbDems had an event on how Birmingham saved £250 million and the Conservative Technology Forum event (see below) is expected to lead to a lively debate on the trade-offs between economies of scale and the overheads and inefficiencies that result from central control as opposed to mandatory inter-operability.  Citizencard has organised a most timely event on Age Verification at the Conservative Conference, which should raise many issues around ID and Information governance. There is a rash of events on Hackgate as well as several organised by Big Brother Watch which go beyond the current press-related controversies.

The Conservative Technology Forum event on 2nd October, Exchange Rooms 5 and 6, 17.30 for 18.00 will be the first public event since I became Executive Chairman. We had not agreed the theme and topic when the guide when to print. The theme is “Towards the Big Information Society”. The aim is to address some of the challenges presented to the ICT industry if the coalition is serious about moving from a world of centrally negotiated albatross contracts to one of devolved responsibility for flexible delivery partnerships. I aim to make time to blog on this tomorrow.