ICT Champion for South East England
Mark Walker is Regional ICT Champion for the south east, a post funded by Capacitybuilders to help ensure that voluntary and community sector organisations have access to trusted sources of ICT support and guidance at a ChangeUp consortia level.
To follow his work please visit his blog at www.seictchampion.org.uk
What is a Regional ICT Champion?
There are nine regional ICT Champions in England, funded by Capacitybuilders to help develop ICT support for the third sector.
Appointed in 2007, Mark is working with ChangeUp Consortia and other infrastructure organisations across the region, as well as developing a regional ICT strategy with the Regional Cross Sector Partnership. Mark is supported by Lucian Borcanescu, who is based in Slough and provides support to consortia in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire.
Regional ICT Strategy
The overall goal of the regional strategy is to ensure that voluntary and community sector organisations have access to trusted sources of ICT support and guidance at a ChangeUp consortium level. This will be achieved by addressing several key issues:
- Networking, Information-sharing and Signposting
- Working with Development Workers
- Working with Suppliers
- Better Brokering of ICT Volunteers
- Working with Funders
- Support for Social Enterprise Solutions
- Developing use of ICT Health Checks
- Consortium-level ICT Plans
The Regional Champion acts a central point of contact for ICT-related issues in the voluntary sector in the south east relating to:
- Sector-specific ICT issues
- Consortium-level ICT plans
What to expect from a Regional ICT ChampionHere is what NAVCA told Chief Officers of CVS about my role:
"The purpose of the regional ICT champions is to increase the capacity, availability and quality of local infrastructure ICT support services that are relevant and meet local third sector needs.
They will work through consortia supporting you as local infrastructure organisations to see provision of a well co-ordinated and resourced network of ICT services that deliver relevant and affordable hands-on ICT support, training, advice and guidance services.
Working to champion the strategic importance of well planned ICT, this in turn will make it easier for groups to achieve their aims and to deliver quality services more effectively.
They have a direct responsibility towards LIOs across each region to:
- Impartially signpost and provide details of existing local providers of ICT infrastructure support and services in any part of the region.
- Communicate progress and news of appropriate ICT events, training and resources via email networks, website / blog and regular regional ICT network meetings.
- Encourage LIOs to strengthen their own ICT and the ICT support they offer to local groups.
- Identify the need for, and deliver sub-regional ICT awareness raising workshops or sessions at other generic events
- Identify where technical training, ICT knowledge for general development workers, net:gain or other suitable training could be deployed.
- Keep an up to date overview of the ICT infrastructure activity taking place in all sub-regions.
- Share best practice from within the region and nationally in meeting gaps in ICT provision and areas of ICT weakness identified at local, sub-regional and regional level.
- Encourage LIOs to produce development strategies and action plans where gaps have been identified, including those from the ICT Hub funded pump priming projects.
They have a responsibility as champion working regionally:
- To be the contact point for the voluntary sector forum and Capacitybuilders regional manager when they are strategically planning ICT developments.
- To ensure there is an agreed regional ICT strategy in place which incorporates sub-regional consortium plans and that it is being used in planning long term ICT development and as an evidence base to draw in additional funding for ICT in the region.
They will not be able to:
- Deliver hands-on technical support or training to front line organisations - instead they will provide a signposting service to existing local providers of these services.
- Replace the ICT support function of local infrastructure organisations - however they will be able to advise on effective ICT funding, strategies and ways to establish new local providers of support services to the local third sector.
Find out more about all the ICT Champions from www.navca.org.uk/services/ictsupport/
Voluntary sector ICT support in the south east
There is a range of ICT support available to VCOs in the south east. At the same time as developing an informal network of people involved in delivering IT-related support, the regional Changeup consortium commissioned and delivered a research-based demonstration project to evaluate different ways of developing and delivering a locally-based sustainable ICT support service for the sector.
This focused on three organisations - SCIP, The Really Helpful IT Company and Southampton CVS. A full report was published in early 2007 and is available for download from the RAISE website . This is recommended reading for anyone interested in developing paid for ICT services from within the voluntary sector, for the sector.
I use my blog to provide news and updates related to my role- visit www.seictchampion.org.uk