Council officers leading the way in digital connectivity gain national recognition following a series of successful funding bids and successive appointments to the national body for Public Sector IT leaders.
Kurt Frary, Infrastructure Services Manager at Norfolk County Council has been appointed as the Eastern Chair for the Society of IT Managers (Socitm) the professional network for digital leaders involved in the transformation of public services.
Former Socitm President, Geoff Connell, the council’s Head of Information Management and Technology spent the last five years on the organisation’s presidential team and has just been made Socitm’s first lifetime member in recognition of his contribution to the society.
Geoff remains involved in national strategic technology decision making as vice chair of the CIO Council for local government (LCIIC) and is a lead advisor on cyber security.
Closer to home thousands of Norfolk businesses will soon be able to benefit from ultrafast broadband after the council secured £8m funding from the UK Government Digital, Culture, Media & Sport department’s Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) fund earlier this year.
This money forms part of an £11m programme to upgrade more than 370 of Norfolk’s public-sector buildings to the latest ultrafast connection speeds. It will enable 230 schools, 108 Norfolk County Council Corporate buildings (including 38 libraries) and 34 fire stations to be upgraded to gigabit (1,000 mbps) fibre internet connections within two years.
A joint bid for the Norfolk and Suffolk Innovation Network project was also successful in attracting £440,000 Capital Growth Funding from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). A project which aims to create a network across Norfolk and Suffolk to enable private, public and educational organisations, as well as the public to trial Internet of Things (IoT) technology. This is a network that can send and receive low power signals from digital sensors used in a wide variety of sectors, including flood and traffic management and agri-tech.
The council also hosted a Digital Zone at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show to showcase the latest cutting edge devices and variety of smart tech already available for the home and classroom.
Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, cabinet member for innovation, transformation and performance said: “Ensuring Norfolk has the digital connectivity it needs to build a thriving economy is a key priority for us.“It’s fantastic for our County to be seen as leaders in terms of digital technology and for our officers to be involved in shaping future digital strategy in our region and beyond.”