Murdoch Carberry, Information Sharing Board Chair

Written by Alan Robertson on 7 October 2015 in Feature

For 100 days, Connect is running through our Tech 100 for 2015, profiling the key figures driving the digital agenda in Scotland

Murdoch Carberry

Job Title/Organisation: Head of Reform and Change Management, Renfrewshire Council and Chair of the National Information Sharing Board (ISB)

What does your role involve?

Management and development of the council’s ICT service, supporting the delivery of all council services and an ambitious strategic change programme. In my ISB role, I’m involved in partnership-based work to support integration and collaboration in health and social care.

Common themes across both roles are the value of information as an asset for the delivery of public services and a desire to exploit digital technologies as an enabler of reform and modernisation.

What do you consider to be the most imminent challenge in your line of work?

We need to create the conditions in which non-ICT managers in the public sector can take ownership of the way investment in technology is directed to support policy objectives. The implications of that have generated, in other industries, an ‘ICT Transformation’ agenda. There is an opportunity, arguably urgent need, for public sector ICT services managers to co-lead this agenda, making themselves digital champions and re-positioning their services as strategic business partners.  

What has been the most rewarding piece of work you've undertaken?

The work undertaken with a team of colleagues and partners over the past year to create a local ICT change programme has been highly rewarding. Some important steps have been taken towards providing core technology in new ways and plans are being developed to change the shape of the ICT organisation, with new capability for partnering and commissioning.

Engagement with frontline services on what digital transformation means for them can now build on what’s been a ‘ground clearing’ phase of work.

How can Scotland bridge the digital skills gap?

Local authorities can make a contribution here in working with community partners to promote digital participation – this is happening in Renfrewshire. This could include creating opportunities for people to explore options for acquiring the skills to work in digital services outwith formal educational and training, but geared to preparing them to connect with the right opportunities.

At a more strategic level, there must be potential for a dialogue between the public and private sectors on this issue. It is likely that public sector organisations will find skills for ICT transformation and support for strategic business change are in short supply in the period ahead.

A cross-sector dialogue could consider new options for development, pooling and coordination of resources. This could also open up new pathways for those currently involved in providing ‘traditional’ ICT services.

Which new technology excites you the most?

I recently attended the Techshare 2015 event organised by RNIB Scotland and was inspired by the developments in wearable technologies that are creating a range of new products for blind and visually impaired people. It’s not just the technology that was exciting – but also the drive to innovate and solve difficult problems across a diverse range of people, organisations and places.

Such developments will be taking place in all areas of health and social care and offer tremendous scope to increase personal independence and control. The challenge for the public sector is to bring the implications of such technologies into mainstream policy development and planning.

What's your favourite app and why?

The smart, integrated design of the Evernote app, which enables organisation and access to information across all devices is very impressive and its value increases with use.

What, for you, will 2016 be the year of from a technology/digital standpoint?

There will be great benefit now in moving on from discussion on whether to use cloud computing to widespread adoption of cloud services by public sector organisations. Linked to question two above, this would be driven by unified plans for strategic business change and digital enablement.

Adoption of cloud services will create more practically deliverable options for collaborating on technology investment than has proved achievable to date. This, in turn, will offer better support for a public sector reform agenda moving towards increasingly partnership-based service models.

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