Transforming health and wellbeing. Digitally.

Cambridge-15March-LinkedIn

Digital transformation isn’t just about achieving greater efficiencies. It’s also about creating an environment that’s happier and healthier with better outcomes for everyone.

This is the focus of Share Cambridge on 25th April 2019.

For local authorities, central government and the healthcare sector, the biggest challenge facing us is how to achieve these better outcomes for people and communities through transformed public services – harnessing emerging technologies and data in ways that are ethical and avoid exposing people and their data to cyber security risks.

It’s well-documented that online communication can have an enormous impact on people’s wellfare. Managed properly, it can alleviate loneliness, reduce isolation and unite communities. When it comes to people’s health and wellbeing, digital transformation offers powerful opportunities. It enables intervention to take place early at a local, community level. It also allows people to be proactively involved with their own care, encouraging engagement and collaborative response and treatment freeing up resources at the expensive acute end of the system. Digitalisation and effective and secure information sharing can help people to live independently avoiding entry into the care systems. It also means people are better informed about conditions, helping to prevent illness and enabling faster discharge from hospital care.

But the opportunities are far greater than just transforming the care setting. Taking a fresh look at the determinants of people’s wellbeing can enable the public sector in the widest sense – housing authorities, leisure providers, environment, education, police, public health, alongside care organisations and health providers – to refocus their efforts on addressing the often entrenched and endemic problems in our communities. In short, digital technologies and better use of data can help to transform outcomes in collaboration with people in their diverse settings.

However, as with everything, there’s a potential downside. Digital technology also exposes people to significant risk. Cyber security and privacy breaches are a real threat and fear of negative outcomes, including data protection concerns and nervousness about technology itself, can also sometimes make end users wary of engaging with the opportunities presented.

To be successful, digital transformation needs to actively foster inclusivity. It must take into consideration existing socio-economic inequalities and actively address them to ensure services are truly available to all. It must also incorporate a means of training and educating people to ensure they have the skills necessary to reap the full benefits of the digital age.

Factors including age, gender, education and other socio-economic factors have created a digital divide. One that needs to be closed if society is to benefit fully from the positive effects of digital transformation on wellbeing. While this divide remains, digital technology will only serve to create greater inequalities and, in essence, a digital underclass. How do we close the gap between those who are fully engaged digitally and those who have limited or no access to digital technologies and their ensuing wellbeing outcomes?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those most likely to be impacted negatively by the risks associated with digital transformation are those with lower levels of education and skills. Digital literacy is increasingly a requirement for job opportunities and a lack of appropriate skills can lead to people being trapped in poorly paid roles, never receiving the necessary training to harness the benefits of digitalisation.

It is, therefore, essential that education is a vital component of any digital strategy. In a healthy society, inequalities cannot be left to grow and fester. Education needs to be delivered from the grassroots upwards and ongoing. A passion for lifelong learning is born in the classroom and we need to see digital skills incorporated into the curriculum and viewed, correctly, as an essential timetabled subject. Young people entering the job market today need to be able to live and work in a digital world. For their whole-life wellbeing, they need cognitive skills, IT competency, specialist and general skills and the ability to adapt quickly and enthusiastically to change. In the UK, digital literacy is acknowledged as a core component of the curriculum but – in order to deliver lessons of the required calibre – teachers need intensive training too.

Socitm is committed to promoting steps to build a digitally capable workforce and to address gaps in leadership, diversity, and hard and soft skills. We want everyone to have the opportunity to gain the skills and experience required to thrive in the digital age.

We also drive the development of digital leadership in the public sector, championing the need for all leaders and managers to have a strategic vision of the possibilities and potentials of technology. By improving digital proficiency among managers and employees at all levels, we are striving to eradicate digital inequality in the work place. We champion the importance of diverse leadership and teams, including the empowerment of women, for the design of services and products that work for everyone. We are constantly researching the best and most effective ways to gain, re-train and retain people so they have the up-to-date skills needed to work creatively, productively and happily in an ever-evolving workplace.

Innovation and the sharing of excellence are vital to our vision and our operations. We know that when our members and partners come together, break-throughs are made and initiatives that make a tangible and positive difference to society are discussed and facilitated. One of our key policy areas is Health and Wellbeing and we know that, in offering opportunities for open discussion and ideas sharing, we can help shape best practice and maximise the potential of digital transformation to create a healthier, happier and more efficient world for all.

On 25th April Sam Smith, Socitm’s vice-president, is hosting Share Cambridge 2019. Focusing on health and wellbeing, the event will explore how digital transformation can help drive innovation in services supporting health and wellbeing. It will also examine how digital alignment can support service providers.

Throughout the year, we have been fortunate to work alongside our policy partner, DELL EMC, putting health and wellbeing under the microscope and examining how digital transformation really can change people’s lives for the better. DELL EMC are sponsoring this event and will be hosting a human centred design and co-production workshop focusing on the standards and platforms that are being used to deliver innovation and create new health care models​. However, Share Cambridge 2019 isn’t just for IT professionals in local government and the healthcare sector. It’s for anyone who wants to unlock the full potential of transforming people’s lives through digital transformation. Socitm public sector and NHS members can attend the event for free and there will be plenty of opportunity to network and share experiences alongside our ground-breaking speaker agenda.

Only by coming together can we equip ourselves to eliminate digital inequality and ensure everyone benefits from the improved wellbeing the technology allows. Just as digital technologies expand the boundaries of information available to people and enhance human productivity, so collaborating and sharing excellence expands the boundaries of our creativity and helps improve the health and wellbeing of us all.

Register.

Blog-160419

We know diversity, skills and leadership are vital to digital wellbeing. So much so that they come together to form one of our key policy themes. Policy changes people’s lives, helping them to be healthy, active, caring, vibrant, connected, inclusive, sustainable, growing, curious, creative, learning, safe and secure. Download our Diversity, skills and leadership policy briefing to discover how our vision will achieve better outcomes for all.

Transforming health and wellbeing. Digitally.

Our March Leadership Academy advocate

Advocate-March-blog

Sometimes accidents occur out of the blue… but, sometimes, good things come along too, by accident.

Through our association with Socitm, together with a colleague, two members of LGSS were offered the chance to attend the Top Talent Course in December last year.

The course was expertly lead by Colin Litherland. The content was delivered with a light touch in a collaborative way that seemed relaxed but was always focused. Colin moved us effortlessly through theory, exercises, discussions and introspection. We learnt things about ourselves and our general management styles in a way that allowed each one of us to stand back and look at ourselves and reconsider. The course gave us tools and strategies to try and apply in our day to day working lives. It was also refreshing to be able to discuss more personal, thoughtful, collaborative approaches to colleagues and work situations. Dare I say it, but especially as a man in the workplace, we are often conditioned to behave in a certain way and not show a more considerate side for fear of how this might be perceived. It was refreshing to be challenged to think about these behaviours. Even the LGSS colleague I attended with, who Colin found to be a seriously hard case, had some moments of re-think and found some empathy he didn’t know he had ;D

At the end of the course, we split into two groups and each made a presentation. What struck me most was the way in which we were inspired by the course to work together, we were really motivated to do this, and how in small teams, some of us hadn’t met before, we worked effectively and collaboratively towards two excellent presentations. By sitting down together during the course and discussing openly some important issues, I got a much better understanding of every person in the group I attended with and genuinely missed the time I spent with them and missed them when the course, all too soon, ended! My journey has been complicated by an HGV ploughing into stationary traffic on the A14 and the effects this had on my brain. The SOCITM top talent course was a happy accident and I will take the learning I did on that course with me through my professional and my personal life!

By Alex Haidar
Systems Implementation Team Manager at LGSS – Cambridgeshire County Council

Our March Leadership Academy advocate

Our February Leadership Academy advocate

leadership-advocate-of-the-month-february-blog

 

Top Talent, where do I begin….?  I was relatively new to leadership roles within my workplace and felt I could do with improving my leadership skills.

I had attended internal training courses, which were a good foundation, but I felt that I needed a course which was more in depth.  I had heard of the programme through other colleagues who were graduates of previous Top Talent courses and I’d also taken the opportunity to research the course from the Socitm website and spoke with others further about the course and what it would deliver for me as a leader.  After gathering the more information, I decided to apply for the course.  The course was terrifically set out all the way from receiving the invites for applicants to apply, to the graduation dinner!

The application process allowed me to self-reflect on my own skills and build a picture of where I needed to improve.  During the workshops and the separate coaching that is received, I was able to identify key areas where I felt I needed to improve my skills, self-belief and confidence. This was facilitated by reviewing our personal values and beliefs, through the discussions and the role-playing exercises.

Having attended the programme,  allowed me to step forward to present feedback about our experiences at the Soctim Scotland Conference; something completely outside of my comfort zone!  In doing this, it has allowed me to begin to challenge myself and improve on my leadership skills.  Skills I had, but never utilised fully.  This is no longer the case!

I believe the benefits of attending this course has allowed me to improve my own skill set but also enabled me to grow.  At the time of the course I was the Team Lead for ICT Support, And now, since the course, I have developed my leadership skills to focus on not only managing the ICT Department, but also other areas within the Council.  I firmly believe that without participating in this programme I would not have been able to gain the promotion to my current post within East Dunbartonshire Council as Digital & Shared Services Manager, responsible for ICT, Internal Shared Services and the
Revenues & Benefits Teams.

It was a great experience and one that I would recommend to anyone wishing to
enhance their leadership skills within government and to grab with both hands!

By Gavin Haire
Digital and Shared Services Manager at East Dunbartonshire Council

Our February Leadership Academy advocate

Our Guide to a safer internet experience

safer-internet-day-blogartboard 1@1x

As IT professionals, we have an obligation to provide safe and secure internet to all those who may use it within your organisation. As part of this obligation, internal training goes a long way. Go out into the main office and ask someone if they know what phishing is?  What was the response?

Providing training to staff is the first step towards making your workplace that little bit safer, by making people aware of the risks and the do’s and don’ts of the internet.

Let’s take one example – Phishing

Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

What to look out for?

  • Poor English/grammatical errors
    • One of the biggest tell-tale signs is the structure of the email
  • Who is the email addressed to?
    • Phishing emails tend to have generic titles for example Dear Sir / Madam, Dear Email@email.co.uk
  • Is the offer too good to be true?
    • Click this link to win £10000 pounds. Your long-lost relative has left you £40000, I just need your bank information

Sounds simple doesn’t it? But you will be surprised how many slip though the net.

Let’s take one more example – Online Banking
Something we take for granted, having access to your bank anywhere anytime. This level of freedom comes with risk:

  • Internet connection- when you’re at a coffee shop, do you connect to their public wi-fi?
    • Snoopers can be looking at the traffic coming from your device and steal your personal data
    • Recommendation: Use a VPN on your mobile device or use your mobile data network.
  • Public computers/work computers – when using your online banking websites.
    • Do you click remember my username/password? This means that the next person to use that device maybe able to see your information
    • Recommendation: Use an in-private browser, or incognito mode or click ‘Do not Remember username and password’

The above is just a few examples of how to stay safe online, whether it’s checking your emails or checking your bank balance.

For more information visit https://www.getsafeonline.org/ where you’ll find all the information you need.

 

Printuk-safer-internet-centre

Find out more about the Safer internet Day here: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2019

 

By Adam Goldsmith – MBCS

Our Guide to a safer internet experience

Our January Leadership academy advocate

leadership-adcocateartboard 16 copy 3

Empowering Women Course is of huge importance to me for a number of reasons:  it helped me to build a strong understanding of my abilities and strengths, work through my personal barriers in a supportive environment and start to look ahead, plan my future self.

During the 3-day course I went on a roller-coaster of activities that were cleverly designed and carried out by our talented course facilitators and allowed me and my fellow women to take a step back and evaluate key aspects of our careers and personal goals, learn techniques on how to deal with challenges that may prevent us from taking that brave next step.

The group activities were reinforced by 1:1 tuition from an experienced coach who worked with me on the specific challenges and together we created a plan of actions that will allow me to achieve the goals I set. This is an incredible opportunity to work with a trained professional on the areas of future development underpinned by a practical advice, which completes the whole journey of personal discovery.

Having said all that, I cannot underestimate the value of the support network we created as a group of professional and strong women who are dealing with their challenges together. We worked through some tough dilemmas and personal issues that bonded us together and I now have a group of amazing women, friends that I can call for help and advice should I need them.

The help and advice given during these sessions provided me the incredible insight into my work and personal life to allow me to be truly empowered.

Since attending the course and graduation I have been promoted within my organisation and I feel empowered to grow our internal talent, so I am passing the opportunities that have been given to me to my colleagues.

 

By Tanya Last

Our January Leadership academy advocate

“Clean-up your computer month” – our guide to keeping data safe.

‘Clean up your computer’ month for January, marks the importance of organisations and the workforce adhering to the principles and guidelines of data protection (GDPR) and ensuring that appropriate and adequate security measures have been implemented to protect staff, their devices and the data they use and share. In the current climate, we all individually need to take personal responsibility of being compliant with national and local policies and practices.

It is also paramount that organisations are able to achieve cost effective storage solutions through adopting these ‘good’ practice principles and limiting how much information is stored.

It really isn’t about the use of cleaning materials and rubber gloves to ensure that your device is clean and tidy! Although, there is a need to keep kit and desks neat and paper-free in-line with ‘clear desk and hot-desking’ policies.

It is really helpful to follow the advice and guidance that is made available regarding the cleaning-up of devices for the following reasons:

  • We should only keep hold of data; comprising of emails, attachments, case details and other documentation and information, to meet our specific business need. With the introduction of the GDPR guidelines earlier this year, it is even more pertinent for individuals, teams and organisations to be really vigilant about which data is retained and for how long. And we are obliged to ask data owners if they want us to keep this information through the use of the ‘privacy’ guidelines. Organisations need to clearly articulate their retention, archiving and disposal policy guidelines. (See – insert link to GDPR best practice)
  • We need to ensure that adequate, reliable security measures are in place to prevent the misuse of the data that we hold. If we need to  share data with partners and other agencies, then it can be done in a secure manner. We also need to be careful that if a device is lost or stolen, that the security protection that has been deployed will prevent access to data unlawfully.
  • It is a known fact that the more data that is kept, the more storage capacity is required. This poses a number of issues for organisations:
    • information overflow – a need to ensure that there is clarity about what is kept for how long and how this is managed and stored
    • investment in robust document management systems to ensure the electronic safeguarding of information, rather than being riddled with tons of paper! To reduce cost, it is necessary to limit how much data we keep
    • physical, virtual or cloud storage – the more we need to store, the more expensive our storage solution. As more and more organisations review their infrastructure and storage solutions, it is an ideal opportunity to reduce the amount of data that is kept, so that storage is optimised and made as cost effective as possible.

The start of a new year and the opportunity to refresh the approach to using, storing and sharing data and keeping devices secure! Please take the necessary actions to ensure that these guidelines and best practice are followed to protect yourself and any potential mis-management of data.

“Clean-up your computer month” – our guide to keeping data safe.

Friday Roundup: A Week in Tech (21/12/18)

anonymous-hand-hoody-36675

It’s Friday. It’s the roundup. It must be time for Facebook Disaster of the Week – and this one’s a classic balls-up.

The social network – which, amazingly, continues to operate – has revealed the discovery of a bug that exposed nearly seven million of its long-suffering users’ photos.

According to Facebook, during September up to 1,500 third-party apps gained access to a ‘broader set of photos than usual’.

What makes all of this particular poignant/gruesome is the offer Facebook made last year for users to send it their most intimate photos as part of an effort to tackle revenge porn.

I suggested at the time that only the bravest of souls would send in their most private of pics, what with the firm being submerged in a ocean of fishiness and ineptitude even then – and this year has seen that risible sea deepen to the point that I doubt even a specialised Elon Musk submarine can save it.

Anyhow, Facebook says it plans to notify the victims of the latest screwup, and explained itself thusly: ‘When someone gives permission for an app to access their photos on Facebook, we usually only grant the app access to photos people share on their timeline.

‘In this case, the bug potentially gave developers access to other photos.’

Have you been affected by this present fiasco? Please let us know why you haven’t shut down your Facebook account.

***

Poor old Uber has been found wanting by the forces of justice, and must now treat its workers like human beings.

Actually, it must now treat its workers as workers after the Court of Appeal ruled that the firm could no longer regard its drivers as self-employed; meaning – the horror! – that they are entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the minimum wage.

Of course, these entitlements could be short-lived when the genius of Brexit crash lands into the UK mainland in March and destroys 40 years of carefully crafted employment law – but who cares anymore, right? Sovereignty! Woo! Go Brexit!

Anyhow, the action was brought by two former Uber drivers, one of whom is Yaseen Aslam, chairman of the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union, and he had this to say: ‘I am delighted today’s ruling brings us closer to the ending of Uber’s abuse of precarious workers made possible by tactics of contract trickery, psychological manipulation and old-fashioned bullying.’

Hard to put it any better than that – however, responding to Uber’s plans to appeal the decision, thus further delaying the implementation of the treat workers well edict, Mr Farrar outdid himself with: ‘This is nothing more than a cynical ploy to delay inevitable changes to its business model while it pursues a record breaking $120bn stock market flotation.’

Greedy, greedy Uber! Just like Facebook, very greedy and very sloppy with its users’ data. Rich, sloppy, disdainful and shady. We’ve let these firms take over our lives, folks. What are we thinking?

***

And now it’s time for a look back over the year that everyone’s calling ‘2018’ – not all of which has been about Russia, China and Facebook.

Things kicked off with the disconcerting news that many CPUs are vulnerable to hackers. AMD, ARM and Intel chips were all apparently prone to a number of weaknesses. Interestingly, the story seems to have gone very quiet over the last six months, which means they either fixed it or everyone lost interest because of Brexit. Probably the latter.

In far more alarming hacking news, it was revealed that America’s gargantuan nuclear arsenal is also susceptible to hackers, in another story that has since gone incredible quiet, possibly because of most people’s attention being drawn to the deranged Donald Trump.

At the end of January, friendly Facebook announced plans for a child version of Facebook, while simultaneously claiming it was very concerned with the effect social media is having on the young. No shame! None at all!

In February, then digital minister Matt Hancock released an app – which was immediately implicated in a data privacy breach fiasco. I wonder whatever became of it?

The end of February bought moon news. 4G moon news.

(Only the end of February? This is going to take ages.)

I’ve zipped to April (not that much happened in March, honest) when the notoriously tech-illiterate Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced £9m to fight cyber crime. Whatever happened to her?

Lots of our focus this year was concerned with the hateful Cambridge Analytica. Here’s one of many stories about the scandal-filled enterprise.

In June, I couldn’t find a single World Cup-related tech tale, so had to make do with stuff like this.

July started with shock and horror! Social media firms are actively trying to make their networks as addictive as possible!!! Who would have thought it possible??!!

In mid July I got a bit maudlin with this effort about the strange story of the trapped teenagers and Elon Musk.

August brought some pretty good news: the demise of spite hive InfoWars. Well, not demise exactly, but hopefully all the frenzied liars involved in the dirty enterprise felt their pockets pinched a little bit.

Apple and Samsung got some massive fines for deliberately slowing their phones down. As for me, my October was reasonably enjoyable.

Which brings us to November and news that Google lost loads of its IP addresses for a short while – and China has built a literal fake newsreader.

That’ll do it. Didn’t enjoy compiling this at all. 

***

Anyhow, this is the last of my Friday roundups. I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Have a great Christmas and a happy New Year.

 

by Max Salsbury

Friday Roundup: A Week in Tech (21/12/18)