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Share National – Leadership, Diversity & Skills 2021

conference speaker

Policy Theme

Leadership, diversity and skills

Date & Time


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Chair: Sandra Taylor

This two-day event will consider what we define as ‘work’ and how we work given the changes that we have experienced in response to the pandemic. Work is no longer considered the place that we go to, but what we do to achieve discrete improved place-based outcomes for localities. How can we as teams and organisations work better and smarter to support each other and the people that we serve? By challenging ourselves – to learn more, think differently, develop empathy and respect and through being more diverse and inclusive in our approach – our working lives can improve and the way in which we deliver public services in a more accessible, responsive and citizen-focussed has to be the primary focus 

We are moving towards a return to pre-Covid19 lives. Can we be sure what this return will look like? There are so many ideas, and the challenge for leaders is to learn from the last 12 months and continue with the best practice that has been adopted to date, whilst finding even more creative and innovative ways to transform public service delivery. The strength and opportunity that remote working has offered, the agility and flexibility of response, the use of technology, data and digital services as the catalyst for change and as an enabler, is the difference. Leaders now need to create the culture and champion the change to working practices which will enable people and communities to thrive.  

We look forward to hosting an insightful and thought-provoking event. Guest speakers and discussions will give us the space to explore ideas and challenge the status quo as we enter a new phase of service delivery. As leaders and people, professional and personal responsibilities ebb and flow. Digital technologies can now match this expansion and contraction to support individuals and the provision of public services. 

Share National – Leadership, Diversity & Skills 2021 event

Meet the Speakers

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Sandra Taylor

Sandra Taylor

Assistant Director of IT & Digital
Event Chair Sandra Taylor Linkedin Sandra Taylor's Linkedin (opens in new tab)
Photo of Suzanne Hudson

Suzanne Hudson

Senior Adviser - Workforce and Policy
Suzanne Hudson Linkedin Suzanne Hudson's Linkedin (opens in new tab)
Photo of Shera Chok

Shera Chok

Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Photo of Ade Adetosoye

Ade Adetosoye

Chief Executive
Photo of Sam Shah

Sam Shah

Chief Medical Strategy Officer
Sam Shah Linkedin Sam Shah's Linkedin (opens in new tab)
Samantha Smith

Sam Smith

Assistant Director of IT & Digital Services, Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council
Sam Smith Linkedin Sam Smith's Linkedin (opens in new tab)
Photo of Dionne Lowndes

Dionne Lowndes

Chief Digital and Technology Officer
Dionne Lowndes Linkedin Dionne Lowndes's Linkedin (opens in new tab)
Photo of Rob Griffiths

Rob Griffiths

Digital Service Team Leader, Wrexham Council
Photo of Paul Saer

Paul Saer

Head of Public Sector


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  1. Agenda Session 1
    1. 10:00 am |
      Chair's welcome

      Sandra Taylor, Chair

      Today’s speakers, panellists and partners combine to create a truly fantastic group who will lead, challenge and debate the way we do business and how we operate in a post Covid-19 environment.  

      Whether this is meeting the challenge of managing remote work and the different needs of staff to understanding how we change with the times, we’ll be covering it, and giving practical take outs for your own organisation. 

      Our graduation ceremony for those who have been through our training programmes will round day one off. During this celebration, you’ll hear the personal testimonies from some of the candidates who have been part of the Return To Work ICT programme run by the LGA and Socitm.  Get your tissues at the ready! 

    2. 10:10 am |
      Leadership and Diversity in a Rapidly Changing World

      Graham Farrant, Chief Executive, Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council

      Graham Farrant will talk about the way that BCP Council is transforming its working practices and improving access to its services whilst valuing all members of its Community and improving its performance on Equalities and Diversity.  BCP Council is the 10th largest urban authority in the country and is only two years old, so has both scale and opportunity.  In an environment of rapid change, Graham will share his experiences of fundamental reform of local government and his vision to digitally enable services for the inclusive benefit for all.

    3. 10:40 am |
      Cracking the culture code

      Samantha Burnham, Co-Founder, Learning Solutions Matter

      Sam will share some ‘light bulb’ moments with us – what the pandemic has taught leaders about their ‘as is’ organisational culture, and the longer term implications. She will highlight several key areas of focus at an organisational and team level, to shine a light on the importance of great leadership to make the transition. Therefore, the final question is of course … what are the essential leadership behaviours post pandemic? Have your say!

    4. 11:00 am |
      Networking break

      Grab a tea or coffee, take a breather and the opportunity to virtually mingle and network.

    5. 11:10 am |
      Unlocking the Returner Talent Pool – The National Return to ICT Programme

      Nadira Hussain, Director of Leadership, Development and Research, Socitm | Nina Lawrence, Head of Return to Work Policy, Government Equalities Office | Suzanne Hudson, Senior Adviser Workforce, Local Government Association

      Hear about the national Return to ICT programme that has recently supported those looking to return to ICT roles within local government. The Government Equalities Office (funder), the Local Government Association (programme manager) and Socitm (training provider) will discuss how returners can enhance diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and will share programme findings and success to date.

    6. 11:40 am |
      Managing & leading in lock down: what's the difference?

      Aidan Matthews, Learning Programme Manager, Socitm

      In the past year as more employees have adapted to working from home, the challenge of managing them has become a bit more complex. What has emerged is two important issues; 1. How to maintain a sense of team working and connection, and 2. How to keep people motivated and engaged. In response to these challenges, we created two short programmes to support our members, ‘How to manage and motivate remote teams’ & ‘How to be an effective coach’. In this session, Aidan will share some of the key topics and insights gained whilst running these programmes and provide an overview as to why the cultural response to working in an agile and flexible way, is more important than technology and collaboration platforms.

    7. 12:10 pm |
      Predicting the future of Work

      Paul Saer, Head of Public Sector, Core

      Almost every organisation on the planet is currently involved in re-planning how they will work following the COVID-19 pandemic. The silver lining from the last 12 months is that most organisations have proven is that, for the majority of knowledge workers, attending a physical workplace every day isn’t critical for productivity or well-being. Our session will explore how we can build strategies to get the best outcomes for our organisations, our employees, and the environment, by leveraging a crystal ball that has been eerily prescient over the last 60 years.

    8. 12:30 pm |
      Networking lunch

      Grab some refreshments, network with fellow delegates and digest the morning’s talking points.

    9. 1:00 pm |
      Reshaping the workforce of the future

      Matt Prosser, Chief Executive, Dorset Council | Pam Smith, Chief Executive, Stockport Council | Ade Adetosoye, Chief Executive, London Borough of Bromley Council | Susan Parsonage, Chief Executive, Wokingham Borough Council 

      This session led by Solace will look at how our workforces have evolved throughout the pandemic and what’s next for the workforce? What have been the lessons learnt, challenges faced and how can we create a sustainable workforce for the future which will best serve our communities.

    10. 2:00 pm |
      Ageism in the workplace - The impact and cost to individuals and organisations

      Michael O’Reilly, Founder, Age Diversity Network

      Michael talks through the challenges faced by older workers, and the added value they bring to the workplace. What are employers doing about preserving and tapping into this vast market of skills and expertise? Are we really up to date with how a multi-generational workforce can benefit most organisations?

    11. 2:20 pm |
      Chair's closing remarks

      Sandra Taylor, Chair

    12. 4:00 pm |
      Graduation Ceremony

      Our graduation ceremony is a celebration for those who have been through our training programmes. You’ll hear the personal testimonies from some of our Leadership Academy alumni, our Top Talent Cardiff 2021 partner – IP Performance and those who have been part of our Return to Work ICT programme. Get your tissues at the ready! 

  2. Agenda Session 2
    1. 10:00 am |
      Chair's welcome

      Sandra Taylor, Chair

      To serve our communities, we need a diverse and inclusive outlook that goes beyond the box ticking of making websites accessible according to the latest guidelines.  

      Today’s session focuses on this with our expert speakers, panellists and partners ditching the buzz words to lead debate and share their views on the positive outcomes for organisations that are focussed on delivering the best public services for all. 

    2. 10:10 am |
      Accessible, usable, open, and clear – for everyone

      Sam Hall, Chief Digital Officer, The Welsh Local Government Association

      Local Authorities in Wales are frontline providers of hundreds of services to 3.5 million citizens.  We want to reimagine how we design these services for everyone that lives, works, studies and visits Wales.  This means our organisations, the people who build, buy, and deliver our services need to mirror our communities.  We are on that journey and we’ve got lots of ideas to help achieve the change.

    3. 10:40 am |
      Creating high performing teams

      Den Hudson, Principal Solutions Architect, Pluralsight

      In 2021 organizations need new ways to continue to empower distributed teams to adapt to new practices and processes. There are four key practices for teams to unlock greater adaptability. Join Den as she discusses – Enabling remote work long term, Creating a tech skills strategy, Improving team productivity and the Move to modern software development

    4. 11:00 am |
      Networking break

      Grab a tea or coffee, take a breather and the opportunity to virtually mingle and network.

    5. 11:10 am |
      Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Pause for thought

      Mary McDowall, Co-Founder, Learning Solutions Matter

      Mary will present a model that encourages us to take a look at our personal eco system and identify small steps that will shift us from ‘passivity to activity’. The model suggests a number of reflective questions as to how we can all become active contributors to a more equal, diverse and inclusive team, organisation and community. She will shine a light on the importance of working in a truly inclusive culture and give examples of steps we can all take. Therefore, the final questions is … what can you do to assert yourself as an EDI ally? Pause, reflect and act !

    6. 11:30 am |
      The power of Neurodiversity

      Helen Eaton, Director & Autism Specialist, HK Eaton 

      Helen Eaton will explore how to unlock the power of Neurodiverse thinking in the workplace and bust a few myths along the way. This session will explain the phrase Neurodiversity, highlight legal responsibilities and demonstrate the positive impact Neurodivergent employees can have on your organisation.

    7. 12:00 pm |
      Tackling inequalities alongside health tech innovation

      Dr Shera Chok, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, NHS Digital 

      A fireside chat with Dr Shera Chok to review and consider how the health sector has responded to the challenges presented by the pandemic. An opportunity to focus on the lessons learnt, with a view to understand how we can proactively tackle the impact felt by the most vulnerable in our communities. We will also cover the social inequality that has been exacerbated over the last 12 months and consider how we can continue to improve access to digital health across our localities. Fundamental to achieving these outcomes is the need to collaborate better across health and social care.

    8. 12:30 pm |
      Networking lunch

      Grab some refreshments, network with fellow delegates and digest the morning’s talking points.

    9. 1:00 pm |
      Creating diverse and inclusive teams to deliver better local public services

      David Ashmore, Director Housing & Transformation, Coventry City Council |Dionne Lowdnes, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Southwark Council | Priya Javeri, Interim Chief Information Officer, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council | Sam Shah, Chief Medical Strategy Officer, Numan | Michelle Billington, People Development Manager, Canon

      The panel will share their experiences of how they have responded to the challenge of ensuring the appropriate focus and attention is directed to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce, seeking adequate representation from the community to ensure that services are designed to meet local need and their response to the extraordinary circumstances resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

    10. 2:00 pm |
      A vision for a more inclusive future – a welsh perspective

      Kim Erbo Christensen, Country Manager UK, Dania Software | Rob Griffiths, Digital Service Team Leader, Wrexham Council 

      Having the right mindset and tools is pivotal to operationalise a vision for a more inclusive future. Learn from the reflections of a bilingual county as Rob Griffiths from Wrexham Council, shares the strategy behind improving accessibility in their digital touchpoints. As a bonus, all participants in the session gets the opportunity to take part in the new Socitm & Dania Software Accessibility Campaign in May. Partake in the campaign and set yourself up for success by fixing document accessibility directly in Microsoft Office.

    11. 2:20 pm |
      Chair's closing remarks

      Sandra Taylor, Chair

    12. 4:00 pm |
      Women in IT meeting

      This invitation-only session offers a space for women ICT professionals in the public sector to support and learn from each other. The experiences of discrimination and lack of diversity (with teams, departments, and organisations as well as during learning experiences, networking events etc.) will vary but it’s important to hear people, learn from others and check our own biases.

      Chaired by Helen Olsen-Bedford (Publisher at UKAuthority Ltd) the discussions will centre around what we can do as individuals; what small actions can we take, what behaviours can we adopt that will ripple out and affect change? We know the value that diversity offers and now is the time to embrace diversity of people and ways of working to support and create inclusive organisations and communities.

Who can join our events?

Our events are open to everyone to help drive innovation and modernising of public services.

Our events are included in our membership and partnership packages. A fee may apply for non-members. Please see event details for more information.

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Event Pricing

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Members: Free

Non-members: Get in touch to find out how to join this (and more) through our membership packages

Private sector: contact

Any Questions?

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We are happy to answer all of your questions.
Please get in touch with Lauren Sheppard