April 2022, Sawsan Khuri. The annual GovICT conference returned this year with a focus on the publication of the cyber security strategy.
The GovICT conference returned in March for the 18th annual event. The conference champions technical innovations within the public sector, that brought together over 500 IT leaders, suppliers and influential policymakers. Delegates gain insight into how the IT sector is evolving in the UK, share best practices, and have access to experts in the field.
This year’s GovICT conference focused on critical issues affecting the public sector at present. In the last few years, the dependence on innovative and flexible ICT provision has been fundamental. It has ensured that governments, organisations and public services are able to keep vital services running effectively from home. Individuals are able to stay connected and share information quickly, effectively, ethically and legally. All the while, there were those whose job it was to make sure that the cyber systems were safe and secure, especially with the global increase in cyber security incidents.
The full and varied agenda included an introduction of the Government Cyber Security Strategy: 2022 to 2030, the art of developing better outcomes through technology, delivering digital transformation, connecting everyone in an easy and secure way, and making the public sector a desirable place to work in IT. The afternoon sessions were chaired by Sawsan Khuri, Director of Collaborative Capacities. With great pleasure, she introduced Joanna Davinson, Chief Digital and Data Officer, who emphasised the crucial role of IT leadership within organisations. These leaders make sure communication dots are joined when it comes to IT issues across departments, and they promote and work towards interoperability. She stressed the need for clarity around definitions and scale of IT in government, and urged everyone to work towards a collective, unified vision.
Afternoon speakers included an inspirational case study by the head of digital and data at Hackney Council, and the director of public sector strategic solutions at Splunk. A panel discussion culminated the conference when Sawsan was joined by the head of science from the Dept of Work and Pensions, the lead at the Chief Digital and Data Office, and the senior policy advisor from the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. The wide ranging discussion covered ways of getting best value from available data, integrating services across government entities, and the issues with legacy technology. The main takeaways included a reminder of the ethical obligation to use data to improve lives, the need for a common language and processes in the IT sector, and a call to stay updated on the government’s cybersecurity strategy and to “defend as one”.
GovICT 2022 provided an engaging and action oriented set of speakers in person in London at the tail end of a pandemic. The buzz during the networking breaks was tangible and did not abate till well after the close of the conference at half past five that evening. One to watch for next year!