Weeknote w/c 2 September: clouds, data sharing and the Wayback Machine

On Sunday 13 October I’m running the Royal Parks Half Marathon with a group of people from the school trust that I’m part of. We’re raising money for Lambeth & Southwark Mind, who work to promote positive mental health. All donations very gratefully received! https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=CommunitasTrustRunners&isTeam=true

Next steps with cloud

One of the hypotheses we’re testing through our ‘devops’ work is:

Picking a primary cloud supplier will save time & money

On Wednesday afternoon we got together for a workshop with Digi2al who are supporting the work and dug into this in more detail. I went into the session with a strong view that we need to be heading towards a multi-cloud model environment so that we can reduce the risk of the sort of technology lock-in which bedevils many (almost all?) organisations like ours. The workshop helped me refine this view and shifted my thinking helpfully.

One of our conclusions was that we should aim to standardise our use of cloud platforms, with a default primary provider and clear principles to help us know when it would be more appropriate to vary from that. We also agreed that we should set standards for cloud portability, so that we minimise use of vendor specific components that might make it harder to change platforms in future. This felt like a useful set of conclusions and there are now some clear next steps which we can use to progress this phase of the work.

LOTI workshop on information sharing to enable collaborative innovation in London

On Friday I joined a workshop in Camden to progress the LOTI project on information sharing. The group included people from data, ICT and Information Governance backgrounds, including colleagues from the fire service and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which meant that we could draw on a wealth of experience to shape the work.

By the end of the session we had unpicked what we were hoping to achieve through this LOTI project, developed some more detail on what good might look like and agreed some aspects that we felt should be the initial priorities to get done. It was good to see the preparation that had gone in to make sure that we were building on work done elsewhere and I made some useful new connections as a result of the discussions. The LOTI team shared more details in their weeknote – please let me know if you’d like a chat through any questions about this.

I also…

  • Caught up with Sarah and colleagues from legal and procurement to finish off our conversations about moving the work to ensure that the Council’s contracts are GDPR compliant from working as a ‘project’ to business as usual, clarifying each team’s role in this.
  • Had our first Divisional Management Team meeting since the end of the summer holidays. We checked in on our service performance and user feedback and also looked at the progress wall that Cate and Nic have developed to help us manage the flow of project work that we are delivering.
  • Henry and I caught up with colleagues from the Libraries and Archives service to talk through areas that we need to work on together, including the public PC offer in Hackney’s libraries. Our work last year to extend the ‘Wifi-4-All’ service to libraries has been well received, but the PC and printing offer isn’t good enough at the moment. We’ve recently had funding agreed to upgrade this so hopefully we will provide our residents with some significant improvements over the coming months.
  • On Thursday I met with a colleague from Internal Audit who’s reviewing the way that the Council’s policy on market supplements is applied across different services. I took him through the approach we’ve used and the feedback was positive. I also explained the work we’re doing at the moment to bring our supplements up to date – I’m hoping to have a draft set of details ready to share by mid-October so that I can get feedback before we finalise the updates that we need to make next spring.
  • And the week wrapped up with Sarah’s leaving do. It was great to see a good turn out from across our team and other services to thank Sarah for the great work she’s done leading Hackney’s work on data protection and information management.

Something I’ve learned

I’ve recently had to make a claim to my credit card company for something which hasn’t been delivered. The supplier appears to have gone bust so I was relying on the card company to help me get the money back. I was pleased that I’d kept detailed notes of my contacts with the supplier as this was useful to support my claim, but there was one piece of evidence that the credit card people asked for which I didn’t have. As the supplier’s website is no longer online it looked like my claim would be rejected.

But then I remembered the ‘Wayback Machine’, a searchable archive of the internet which keeps a copy of old web pages: https://wayback.archive.org/. A quick look there found the information I needed and on Friday I received confirmation that my claim has been approved. Cue much happiness and relief on my part!