People make places. Do not miss President's Conference 2024 in Birmingham. Register now.

Newsletter: Free training with Microsoft is back (for 2 days) in June

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Your events, training and resources

As we get closer to 2024’s President’s Conference* I want to highlight the first keynote speaker on day one. We are delighted to have Ian Thomas, Town Clerk and Chief Executive of the City of London Corporation kick things off. He’ll share insights on how his organisation keep London’s unique Square Mile area a vibrant and thriving place while supporting a diverse and sustainable city. Balancing tradition and transformation is a tricky one so don’t miss out how Ian does this and join us in Birmingham next month.

This article in Solace’s report celebrating their 50th birthday is a bit of a tangent, but a very interesting one: The challenges of becoming a local government senior leader from a BAME background

    Have you seen the countdown clock on the awards page? Take a look and make sure you nominate that person or team who has gone the extra mile and deserves the recognition. Nominating is quick and easy, so we want to know about ALL the great stuff you’re doing. Because you are doing great stuff.

    If you subscribe to the LGA’s Cyber, Digital and Technology Bulletin you’ll have read that Socitm’s working with them, iNetwork, LOTI and Solace on a joint submission for the Public Accounts Committee’s call for evidence on the use of AI in government. We’ll all share this when we are able to.

    Free training with Microsoft is back (for 2 days) in June

    Change Agent Manager offers an overview of the key skills needed to be an effective change agent – with a strong emphasis on the ability to lead change.

    Register now so you can join us on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 June.

    Beverage and biscuit of your choice

    It’s your first alumni drop in coffee hour next week. Recent Empowering Women graduates Irene and Emma have prepared a interactive session for you covering development even in austere times. Something we can all relate to.

    You can take part by typing and/or talking, but you do need to be there to type and/or talk. And by being there your name will go into a virtual hat from which one name will be picked to win a 1 point training course. So if there’s something you’ve had your eye on, or you’d really like one of your colleagues to join, be sure to pop in on Friday 10 May.

    I shared these Local Digital resources for digital teams in the LinkedIn alumni group. Which is a handy way to crow bar in a reminder to join the group 🙂

    Take care. I hope you’re able to have a great weekend.

    Best wishes,


    Your Resource Hub

    From Digital Trends 2024: Cyber protection

    Protecting your organisation from unauthorised access to data and systems and the potential for data loss or leakage, remain high on the list of priorities for CIOs in 2024.

    Perimeter defence is no longer sufficient, particularly following the rapid deployment of remote devices during Covid and the exponential growth of IoT devices that are often unregulated, alongside up-to-date maintenance and patching of all system components.

    The task, in 2024, will be to keep pace with new threats and risks, such as AI, distributed cloud models and increasing use of IoT devices.

    Impact case from AI@Socitm

    Could Barnsley’s social workers be among the first to benefit from an AI Copilot?
    How bravery and a growth mindset are helping Barnsley Council prepare for and adopt generative AI.

    Want to add your own content? Let us know on or use the contact us form [choose Research as your area of interest].

    Let’s help each other connect the dots.

    You might have missed…

    Watch the webinars:

    For ease of viewing, the recording is divided into easy to navigate chapters, with subtitles and transcript available via the video player toolbar.

    Accessibility and inclusion

    Accessibility Week returns in May. Get better at supporting yourself, colleagues and service users.

    Log in to check your Silktide Score and to complete your Digital Accessibility Maturity Assessment.

    You will need a user account on to access member-only resources. Let us know if need any support.

    AI and Automation Benchmarking Pilot

    Final couple of places available

    If you’re investigating how AI can benefit your team and organisation, monitor and evaluate what you’re doing as part of a new benchmarking module. It will assist you in comparing the resources and investment you’re making, along with the benefits you’re starting to discover.

    In last month’s Microsoft LocalGov Innovation and Collaboration Forum, it was mentioned that 62 councils now have M365 Copilot. Other AI and automation tools are available! Whatever you’re using, benchmarking will help you to build business cases for investment and support you in demonstrating its value.

    The pilot is running from now until Friday 7 June 2024 and is free of charge (you will need to start and submit data in this time frame) for members. To use one of the final two spaces get in touch on ASAP.


    Emma Macquarrie has recently completed the Empowering Women course:

    I was afraid that I would be surrounded by many inspiring women who were going places, and I would feel out of my depth!

    Read all about it her new Q&A. How was your course? Tell us about it 🙂
    Emma and her colleague Irene Docherty are our guests for the next alumni coffee hour on Friday 10 May. They’re going to talk about the Importance of development even in austere times.

    Virtual workshops

    In-person programmes

    Training places are included in your organisational membership – subject to availability and membership level. If you have any questions or would like further information, please email the training team.

    President’s Conference. People Make Places

    Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June in Birmingham

    Don’t miss out on this opportunity to feel inspired, connected, and equipped to deal with whatever the future holds.

    As well as conference passes your organisation may have seats for the President’s gala dinner and hotel rooms. Log in for your details.


    Member-only meetings

    Meet people for catching-up, problem sharing (and solving) and great networking.

    Free webinars and meetings hosted by Socitm

    Free webinars and events hosted by partners and others

    Missed a webinar? Past recordings are available to watch in the resource hub.

    Webinars are open to anyone in the public sector, membership is not necessary, so please do share them with your network.

    Come and say hello

    • Tuesday 21 May:
      • GeoPlace [Manchester]
      • LGPN North [Manchester]
        Join President Mark Lumley for the roundtable discussion Empowering communities: technology for public good
      • PublicTechnology Live 2024 [London]
        Incoming President Carol Williams is a panellist for Are times too tough for local government transformation?
    • Tuesday 24 September: DigiGov Expo [London]
      Join Nadira Hussain, President Mark Lumley and Sam Smith
      • Nadira is chairing the Citizen Experience stream. In which, at 15:25, Mark (Director of ICT and Digital at London Borough of Hounslow) is a panellist on Data-Driven Collaboration: Transforming governance through strategic partnerships and enhanced data sharing
      • Sam is a panellist in the GovICT stream at 15:10 for Driving Transformation through an Effective Strategy: The pillars needed to achieve success

    Microsoft MOU negotiations

    CCS is negotiating the next Microsoft MOU – which dictates pricing across the public sector apart from the NHS. Despite months of negotiations, the savings that Microsoft is offering are still not equal to the value of those contained within the current MOU. The current MOU, due to expire on 30 April, has been extended by six months until 31 October 2024.

    CCS has data on the current Microsoft spend and scope of the spend in local government, however, needs more information on council plans for Microsoft and competitor spend in key products and services over the next 3 years to support its negotiating position.

    The LGA, Socitm and Solace would greatly appreciate your contribution to this call for evidence to ensure that local government needs and priorities are being factored into CCS’s considerations. This information will be aggregated and only shared with CCS to support their negotiating position. The LGA and CCS will also be developing a sector specific brief on the findings.

    Please also note that in order to maximise the chance of reaching a successful conclusion and delivering savings for councils, CCS requests that councils defer procuring new products with Microsoft until negotiations are concluded, including Microsoft 365 Copilot.

    If you are a Local Government Officer and haven’t yet received the CCS update briefings, please contact

    Thank you for reading (or scrolling) this far! Just one more thing…

    On LinkedIn this morning Swindon’s Sarah Pena shared her thoughts on the Scaling Genius leadership approach. What do you think? Definitely something to talk about on your next Leadership Academy training course 🙂

    Photo by Aleksandar Andreev