Sharing along the way

Blogpost by John L Curtis

Well today is my last day as Project Manager for the Improving Information Sharing and Management (IISaM) Project. In some senses it only seems like yesterday when I was interviewed and took up the role. Overall its been an exciting 18 months whereby the last phase of national dissemination has positioned the project well for the future.

Over the next couple of months more and more appropriate information sharing will take place, and I personally think there will be growth in what does all this information now mean.  Information sharing is key for service improvement and lets face facts overall budget savings.   Clearly this does have to be done in an appropriate and secure way, but hurdles where found need to be overcome.  Remember to help you now have a dedicated site, so please have a look at the information sharing journey within the toolkit and the case studies and start with a clear vision, build on your information governance and pilot.

The way in which data has been collected, handled and shared appropriately needs to change, with cultural barriers being addressed.  I am sure you will agree that some of the case studies on the IISaM website help overall with the processes around appropriate information sharing, and that if we work collectively we can make a difference to overall outcomes.

We must recognise the importance of information, just like we recognise the importance of our resources, whether they are financial or human resources.  If your organisation is acknowledging this then there will be a rich and annually refreshed information management strategy assessing information needs and where information sharing plays a part.  With an information management programme and corporate team, there will be a clear delivery plan regarding how your organisation intends to get the most from its information assets.

Please be careful though and plan with what you have, start small with many small pilots and reflect. Wherever possible develop joint strategies with your partners with ties in with localism and policy. Remember the value of information becomes greater when you can reuse it appropriately within that locality, so partners and what they can put on the table are key to your resourcing plan.

Finally can I thank everyone who has helped support IISaM at a Project, local, regional and national level.


Keep calm and carry on

Blogpost by John L Curtis

Well, time has moved quickly in the most recent phase of the improving information sharing and management project, with our period of national dissemination almost at its end.

All our IISaM regional events have now successfully taken place and Tuesday 18th June was the last meeting of the project’s board in its current format. Needless to say you maybe worrying, but Keep Calm…. IISaM is carrying on, but in a different format.

Overall the board and team have been key to the success of the project and as the project manager, project governance, like information governance is something which you should do from the start.

Sometimes it is often that short cuts are taken due to time or resource, but If you get it right from the start then you know you will more than likely will be able to deliver: keep calm and carry on!

Get it wrong or too late and you may have some interesting risks and issues.

From a project perspective IISaM had a number of key deliverables, which through the support and input from a range of people were met (find out more in next week’s blog).

The next stage for IISaM will be exciting with its positioning into the Public Services Transformation Network (IISaM working group member, and member of the network Stephen Curtis previously blogged about this here: I will look forward to hearing how things have moved forward and progressed.

Its amazing to think overall what has been delivered in such a short timescale, such as the toolkit and website. This will be maintained and as such continue to flourish so you can keep calm.

As an Information Management professional I think it’s so important we ensure the information governance processes are robust, but not overly complex so that officers at varying levels can keep calm and carry on sharing appropriate personal information at the right time to the right person.

So long and thanks for all the fish……..

Anne Hopwood, IISaM Project Officer, Greater Manchester

As it’s my last day with the project next Tuesday I thought it would be good to sit back for a while and indulge myself a little by reflecting on the IISaM project and what we have achieved over the last 18 months.

A map showing the 10 Greater Manchester DistrictsDeveloping the tools and working on the ground with projects throughout Greater Manchester seems like a lifetime ago and was a real education for me.  We may have produced a model and tools to help multi agency working but the process was an exercise in partnership working and deserves a case study of its own.  I met with people, offered to help, talked to them to understand their vision, built trust helped to achieve some fantastic results around Troubled Families, Early Years and sharing information with the NHS.

I and the rest of the project team also shamelessly exploited some of these relationships to get information governance managers, front line practitioners, the Information Commissioners Office and some of our central government colleagues to provide case studies and look at the tools, providing invaluable feedback thus giving us a far more robust toolkit that we would have otherwise had – I thank you all!

Dissemination has been a blast!

Charlotte Piper from DCLG presents

Charlotte Piper (DCLG) talks about information sharing in the context of Whole Place Community Budgets

Getting out and about, meeting people and telling them about the work we have done was daunting at first but I can honestly say I will miss it.  Watching our academic colleagues from Universities in Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle deliver their training and reference our material was fun as were the launch events in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.

Conference delegates at the stand

Anne and Jill chatting to some conference delegates

We manned stands at the ICO conference in Manchester in March and the I-network conference in May which was a new experience for me.  Everyone was so receptive to the concept of the information sharing journey and the toolkit in general that I ended both days really feeling that I had reached out to a wider audience.  I hope we have given you the tools and the confidence to share information – appropriately of course!

People at the workshop session

People at the workshop session

Members of the project team have also been invited to speak at a number of local and national events over the last 18 months and again the interest and positive response from these events has been a joy and an encouragement to us all.  Please continue to invite the project to your events via the website as even though the team are now starting to disband the work will continue to develop and I feel sure that the toolkit will go from strength to strength.

I have blogged; a new experience for me but strangely addictive.  I have found  myself thinking about how all kinds of everyday things seem to relate to the information sharing work that we are all doing and have found myself quoting the BBC, my daughters karate sensei and even Douglas Adams in my attempts to encourage people to visit the website and use the toolkit.  You have had a glimpse into the strange and scary way by brain works; I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Old fashioned cart wheelsThere have been trials and tribulations along the way and I have to say that the phrase ‘let’s not reinvent the wheel’ will forever remind me of the frustrations of the project not least because it implies that once we have thought of an answer to a problem we need never revisit it again; not true.  The IISaM toolkit is your wheel, adapt and reinvent as you need to but remember to let us know what you do with it and how it works for you so we can keep the content fresh, relevant and useful to the information sharing community.

Finally, the support from those involved in the project and the partner agencies that have helped us to make the toolkit what it is today has been fantastic and I have been humbled by the knowledge and generosity of those who have worked on the project and advised us so well.  I sincerely hope that our paths cross again in the future.

IISaMDissemination in Yorkshire & Humber….

Y&H Event 3

Tim Conway – DWP

Wednesday saw the long awaited IISaM dissemination event for Yorkshire & Humber held at Leeds Metropolitan University. The day aimed to tell our partners across Yorkshire and Humber about the IISaM project, what we have done and learnt and to showcase our wesite and tools.

Y&H Event 1

The kicks off

 We had a great line up of speakers who outlined the importance of good information sharing from their perspective and how IISaM has helped to progress awareness of issues at national and local levels. How IISaM will continue in the future was also a key theme for the day. 


Y&H Event 4

Stephen Curtis explains the Leicestershire MASH

We were also able to tell the group about some practical experiences of the project using some of our case studies




 All in all it was a great day – due  to the fantastic turn out and participation from the delegates – so a big thank you to those of you who were there, everyone that helped with the day and to Nick Frost at Leeds Metropolitan University for stepping in and finding us a venue at short notice!!