Want transformation? Embrace equality, inclusivity and diversity


Public sector leaders should make equality, inclusivity and diversity central to their transformation programmes, says Socitm.

In a new briefing – which should probably be studied by Hollywood bigwigs as well as some in Westminster if recent news headlines are anything to go by – we call on local government leaders to ‘realise the benefits of leading, managing, designing and delivering innovative and transformative change’.

According to the briefing, equality, inclusivity and diversity should extend beyond leadership to every tier, department and function in organisations and across the places in which they operate.

The briefing states: ‘Equality of opportunity and inclusivity of diverse backgrounds, mindsets, beliefs and experiences bring with them new ideas, new energy, new understanding and new innovative approaches. These are assets that are vital to any organisation, not just local government and its digital and IT teams.’

And recommendations are made to help point organisations in the right direction, including exploring opportunities for degree apprenticeships with colleges and universities, and encouraging routes to the top for people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Martin Ferguson, Socitm’s Director of Policy and Research, said: ‘Digital technology is now centre stage in enabling transformation, bringing with it far-reaching leadership, cultural and organisational challenges. That’s why we’re placing a greater priority on the people and cultural aspects of leading, managing, designing and delivering innovative and transformative change.

‘Socitm is making a special call to local government leaders to embrace the issues raised in the briefing and to take action on the recommendations made. The time to act is now, if digital and IT are to realise their full potential in transforming local public services.’

Embracing equality, inclusivity and diversity in delivering innovative and transformative change can be downloaded here.

Want transformation? Embrace equality, inclusivity and diversity

Train a million people in digital, report

Made Smarter

The UK must train a million people in digital stuff, a report has claimed.

The Made Smarter Review reckons the government should retrain industrial sector workers to fill the many roles it believes digital is going to create.

Launched at the start of year, the review, which was commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, looked at how the UK might become a global digital powerhouse.

Rather ambitiously, the report predicts that if the country plays its cards right it could create 175,000 jobs and boost the economy by £455 billion by 2030.

It recommends creating a ‘much more visible and effective digital ecosystem to accelerate the innovation and diffusion of IDT’. If you’re wondering, ‘IDT’ means ‘industrial digitalisation technology’ – every day’s a school day here on the Socitm blog.

The review was chaired by Juergen Maier, Siemens’ UK CEO, who wrote this long sentence in the foreword: ‘Industry is committed to working in partnership with government through a sector deal to revive UK manufacturing, and firmly believes that only this combined package of measures, which go beyond business as usual and historical offerings, will achieve the level of ambition needed for the UK to be a world leader of the fourth industrial revolution.’

You can download the report here. It’s 231 pages long, so perhaps one for committed digital job-creating/economy boosting fans only.


Train a million people in digital, report

No, we’re not secretly listening to you, says Facebook

EarFacebook has denied that it’s secretly accessing PC and smart phone microphones to listen to people’s conversations.

Responding to an inquisitive tweet from a tech fan, executive Rob Goldman said, or tweeted, or whatever: ‘I run ads product at Facebook. We don’t – and have never – used your microphone for ads. Just not true.’

However, anecdotes abound, with users complaining that stuff they’d talked about in real life had mysteriously appeared on the gigantic, time-wasting social media network.

Tori Hoover tweeted: ‘A co-worker got an ad saying, “So you popped the question!” minutes after he proposed, before he told anyone it had happened.’


Another unfortunate, Brigitte Bonasoro, typed: ‘Working as a barista, got a burn, talked to my partner in person about it, went to Target, bought the burn cream, and saw an ad on FB for the exact product I purchased. Never searched for product either.’


Evidence of a grossly illegal operation that could have devastating consequences for the Facebook brand if ever revealed, or mere coincidence? Who knows – but let’s have some fun with the former: please tell us if you’ve had similar experiences in the comments section.


No, we’re not secretly listening to you, says Facebook

Airport to investigate USB stick fiasco

USB stickHave you heard the one about the international airport and the USB stick? Here it is:

Heathrow has begun an investigation into how a USB stick stuffed with security details was found lying on a pavement.

Luckily, a random man, rather than, say, an ISIS commander, found the misplaced storage device and had a look on it. Discovering it was full of sensitive data about Heathrow’s security, he, naturally, gave it to the Sunday Mirror.

According to the paper, the stick contained at least 174 documents, some of which revealed restricted access ID details, maps of CCTV cameras and security patrol timetables.

If anyone from Heathrow is reading, I bought an 8GB encrypted USB stick from PC World (other USB vendors are available) last weekend for £6.50, so there’s a thought.

Anyway, the surely embarrassed airport has said: ‘We have also launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened and are taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence in future.’

Why were these details on an unencrypted stick? Why were they on a USB stick at all? Why was the stick lying in the street? Is all this going to help or hinder the plans for that third runway they so covet?

If you’re interested, here’s the Sunday Mirror’s story, though be warned that the Mirror’s site is so chronic and swamped with adverts that your PC might stop working.

Airport to investigate USB stick fiasco

WannaCry? It was North Korea what done it, apparently

north korea

North Korea was behind May’s devastating WannaCry ransomware outrage, the UK government has claimed.

The cyberattack, which struck systems in over 150 countries, caused particularly damage to the NHS.

Now the government has surmised that North Korea built the ransomware, which locked PCs and demanded around £230 for full access to be returned.

Security minister Ben Wallace said: ‘This attack, we believe quite strongly that it came from a foreign state… North Korea was the state that we believe was involved in this worldwide attack on our systems.

‘We can be as sure as possible – I can’t obviously go into the detailed intelligence but it is widely believed in the community and across a number of countries that North Korea had taken this role.’

Earlier today, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) slammed both the NHS and the Department of Health for not doing enough to prevent the attack.

(The picture above depicts NK’s former leader, Harold Bishop, appearing in the sky during a village fete)

WannaCry? It was North Korea what done it, apparently

Friday round-up: A week in tech

Hotel roomThe corners of the internet responsible for booking hotel rooms have become the latest digital outlet to arouse the suspicions of the authorities.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) reckons that sites such as Booking.com and Expedia might actually be creating problems for users, rather than making their planned stay in a Yeovil Travelodge a simple task.

The CMA says 70% of would-be room bookers use such sites –  but that things like hidden charges could be marring the experience.

Anyway, the BBC has a nice big report all about it here.


Pornographers are furious with a popular crowdfunding service, after it moved to hamper their endeavours.

A recent rule change by Patreon has seen the sale of porn and sex services forbidden on the site.

Porn barons, naturally, are livid at the move and have accused Patreon of betraying some of its (fruitier) members.

A group of smut producers have now written a letter (aw, how sweet) to the crowdsourcers, which bleats: ‘We know people who would be homeless if it wasn’t for making porn on Patreon – and it’s not a small number. Your fuzzy position on “adult content” versus “porn” gives you the freedom to discriminate at will.’

Isn’t that sad? I’m no expert, but isn’t there, like, quite a lot of pornography in the world already?


Amazing news. Astonishing, just breath-taking news. Some people have complained that a new video game is, and I can’t believe I’m typing this, too anti-Nazi!

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is the latest instalment in the popular line of Wolfenstein games, which date back to the early 80s. Set during the Second World War, players are faced with hordes of seething Nazis, whom they are invited to maim with various weapons.

So far, so good. However, some are apparently offended that the new game revels in Nazi slaughter – and that it portrays the Nazis as bad people.

Let’s have a quick peek at the Nazis’ MO, shall we: fervent racism; genocide; suppression of civil liberties; invasion; conquest; crimes against humanity; torture; etc.

I was looking through the comments on a Guardian story about this nutty situation (yes, I’m a masochist), and spotted that one modern Nazi fan had written ‘Imagine if the targets in the game were those with liberal values. Then how would you feel?’

That’s it. I give up.


Apple’s latest electric telephone has sold out within 10 minutes.

At a starting price of £999 for the 64GB version, the iPhone X is the most expensive phone the expensive company has ever made, yet that hasn’t stopped flocks of suckers, sorry, customers rushing to pour their funds into Apple’s tax-lite coffers.

Pleased users will now be able to check Facebook, the time, Twitter and the weather on a slightly bigger screen. What a time to be alive.



Friday round-up: A week in tech

WannaCry attack: NHS must ‘get act together’


A massive cyber-attack on the NHS could have been prevented, a government report has revealed.

May’s WannaCry outbreak spread across the world and caused particular problems for the NHS, with over a third of English health trusts struck and 6,900 appointments cancelled.

The National Audit Office (NAO), which conducted the report, has now said that the NHS and the Department of Health should ‘get their act together’ to prevent future attacks.

WannaCry, which disrupted systems in over 150 countries, was the most devastating cyber-attack to hit the NHS so far. The malware locked PCs and demanded around £230 to re-open them, though there is no evidence the NHS paid any of the ransoms.

Ridiculously, an assessment of 88 trusts by NHS Digital before WannaCry’s assault discovered that not one of them had the basic and essential security levels on their systems.

According to the NAO’s report, trusts didn’t do anything even after receiving critical alerts from NHS Digital, nor after a 2014 Department of Health warning to patch exposed software.

On top of that, trusts could have done a better job of maintaining their firewalls.

NHS England‘s chief clinical information officer for health and care, Keith McNeil, said: ‘As the NAO report makes clear, no harm was caused to patients and there were no incidents of patient data being compromised or stolen.

‘Tried and tested emergency plans were activated quickly and our hard-working NHS staff went the extra mile to provide patient care, keeping the impact on NHS services and patients to a minimum.’


WannaCry attack: NHS must ‘get act together’