Thursday, 19 March 2009

Trialling of Collaborative Online Tools for BCE

I'm on the second day of a 2-day meeting in Birmingham, being a start-up meeting for JISC's Trialling of Collaborative Online Tools for BCE - 'BCE' being Business & Community Engagement. The project partners are from the Further Education Colleges and University sectors and there have been some excellent sessions introducing the partners to each other, from JISC Advisory Services introducing the partners to the types of support they can call upon or access online and some great hints and tips on a host of topics, from Project Management (myself and colleague, Clive Alderson) to a couple of top tips on the use of video cameras from Steve Hunt of JISC Digital Media.

The project is being led by another of my colleagues from JISC infoNet, Jacquie Kelly and other Advisory Services present have been JISC Legal, JISC Netskills and JISC TechDis.

The idea of the start-up meetings for JISC projects is to give project partners an opportunity to network with each other, to share ideas, make contacts and collectively solve gerneric problems.

As I write, delegates are involved in an exercise to identify both individual stakeholders and stakeholder groups, to then consider how best to engage with and communicate with them. This exercise is based on materials from JISC infoNet's Project Management and Change Management infoKits.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Records Management Building Bridges Conference

I've spent the first three days of this week in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Tuesday and Wednesday have been the Building Bridges conference for Records Managers held at the new conference centre at Gateshead College, from whose windows this view of the Millenium Bridge over the Tyne was taken.

The conference was organised by JISC infoNet and was the brainchild of my colleague Steve Bailey. Records Managers from universities, colleges, local authorities and elsewhere gathered to discuss the future direction of records management and the impact that the growing use of social networking sites such as blogs, wikis and networks such as Facebook have on an organisation's ability to control its data and information.

I gave a session on communications during the implementation of change and facilitated a group discussion session as well as running round with the roving microphone for question and feedback sessions.

It has been a most interesting two days with the benefits of a records management approach pushed to the fore over compliance issues. There was some discussion as to where, in an organisation, does the Records Management function logically sit and there was some disagreement amongst the delegates when HR was suggested (because of the staff development role they usually have) or in Finance (because of the strict controlled way that accountants like to work).

What did come out strongly was that wherever they sit, the Records Manager needs the support of a senior manager committed to driving the records management agenda forward across the organisation. Someone at middle manager level sitting within one team or area does not have the necessary influence over the other functions and structural areas that exist in large organisations such as universities and colleges.