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Peter Ryder has been elected president of the Society of Information Technology Management....
Peter Ryder has been elected president of the Society of Information Technology Management.

Preston BC e-innovations programme manager, Mr Ryder has chaired Socitm's north west region and been a member of the performance management group prior to being elected vice president in 2005.

He has worked in local government ICT for almost 40 years, having started his career in London, he moved to Wyre BC in 1983 and then to Preston in 1985.

During his presidency, Mr Ryder will focus on a number of current challenges faced by ICT managers. One of these is the opportunity to develop their role in corporate business planning as opposed to just 'running IT'. Part of this will involve supporting the eGovernment Unit's initiatives on the IT profession, where he believes there need to be the same building blocks in place, including CPD, across local government, central government, and health. Another will be the debate on shared services, where demonstrable business cases will need to be made around increased efficiency and improved customer service.

Coming into the job just as the ODPM's local e-government programme is coming to an end, Mr Ryder nevertheless feels that much needs to be done to ensure that ICT facilitated transformation is actually delivered by local authorities.

He said:

'Service managers are being engaged only slowly and although the need to show efficiency gains - which can only happen substantially though IT/transformation - will stimulate change, Socitm needs to be active in pushing the agenda along. That is why we are planning a series of activities to get maximum engagement around the Transforming Local Government discussion paper published earlier this month by the eGovernment Unit.'

Takeup of online services is also a topical issue as Mr Ryder takes up the reins, with the ODPM's£5m take up campaign due to start in earnest after the local elections in May.

He said:

'The take up campaign is welcome but there is also a need to target people who are not using e-services and who will take no notice of the campaign. Service managers must also to be engaged in promoting e-services, and local authorities must also drive IT into the community via community groups, as we have been doing successfully in Preston through our e-innovations project e-City Preston - Bridging the Digital Divide.'

Mr Ryder is the society's first president from the north west.

Other elections at the Socitm AGM held during the society's spring seminar in Bolton yesterday saw Richard Steel, head of ICT at Newham LBC and Steve Hopson, CIO at Cheshire CC, elected as vice presidents.

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