Charlie briefed me about the difficulties we are having with the new system for the Planning Department. Our concept was to eliminate paper records, make it easier to access information about the planning process, and speed the time it takes to process an application to erect a 150-foot Chinese pagoda in your garden.
The planners seem to have very different ideas. They want more paper, information to be more difficult to obtain, and delay built in at every stage. Moreover, you don't need planning permission for the pagoda, provided you keep a wheelbarrow in it and call it a garden shed. So we decided to develop two different processes.
The one they want is entirely paper-based, obscure in the extreme, and takes months and armies of administrative staff to get through. The other is fully automated, online, fast and easy to understand. We will, of course, have to promise the planners that no one will be told about this alternative.
Mavis came in this morning with a missive from the chief executive's PA about the senior management Christmas do.
"I am away that day," I said.
"But you don't know when"
"It doesn't matter, whenever it is, I am away."
Dave, Charlie and I have our own departmental management team Christmas lunch in the run-up week. No booking necessary as it consists of a mince pie and eight pints of Hobson's bitter in the back room of the Flea and Faceache.
Argument brewing with the council's newly appointed carbon officer, who wants us to chuck out all existing IT kit and go thin client. Some idiot of a consultant has told him that is the only way to save the planet. I pointed out we use Linsux and our latest desktop boxes run on just five watts and don't need to be hooked up to a Citricks server running 24x7 in a heavily airconditioned server room.
Dave has rigged up a thin client pilot for our eco-warrior in the Policy Department. Not easy to run Linsux over Citricks, but we have managed it, although he does have his own dedicated server and network infrastructure.
Of course, he wants to run the thin client on the specialist terminal that his favourite website says uses the least power, which is only twice that used by our standard Linsux device. And it only works on the desk, so he now requires a laptop as well.
This year I am handcrafting my Christmas presents. All my friends and family are getting their own entries on Wikipedia.