Headlines: January 8th, 2008

The Society of Information Technology Management – Socitm – has launched a pilot project in ten local authority areas to create a generic version of the Aspire software system. Aspire was developed in support of the Skills Framework for the Information Age and the pilots will take place in county, district and metropolitan councils and run until March.

The idea is to build on work done by Leeds City Council to standardise skills development in public sector IT delivery and the launch of the pilot is in line with the Society’s growing emphasis on improving its professional support structure. The Aspire system facilitates and manages professional development and is recognised by the Cabinet Office’s Government IT Profession initiative as well as the Local Government Steering Group and Socitm’s own Member Services Group.

The pilot, which has 25,000 pounds of government funding, will seek to turn the system into a product that can be used more widely across local government. Further funding from the Improvement and Development Agency will be used for the marketing and rollout of the revised system.

Andy Roberts, who chairs the Socitm Member Services Group, said the pilots will be supported initially by Leeds City Council staff until skills are transferred. “The aim of the pilots, as well as testing usability of the software, will be to develop business cases and case studies which will be used to further shape the product and seek further implementation,” he said.

The Aspire system is fully aligned to the Skills Framework for the Information Age and provides full support for staff development and elements such as job descriptions. A report commissioned by the Society last year recommended that the Skills Framework should be adopted as the standard for future service delivery.