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.