Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before

Kathryn WardKathryn Ward, Engagement Manager
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

Back in 1987, I was working on front line benefit delivery when The Smiths song above was released. It was also back in the 1980s that papers were being written recommending the need for government information flows to move away from a silo based approach.


So, what has happened over the last 25 years?

Well, the need for information sharing has never gone away. I have worked with customers and partners across a range of departments and services; including the War Pensions Agency, Disability Living Allowance and Bereavement Services and unfortunately, I have lost count of the times I’ve said, “I wish I had known that” or, “that would have been useful to know”. On occasion, I felt that I had let customers down, questioned my own professionalism and not least, believed I could have been able to save the various departments some money.

As part of the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing team, I am now in the position to highlight exemplars of information sharing across England. I will be working alongside colleagues, documenting their journey and drafting case studies for promotion and learning across central and local government.

In my first month, I have already been working with the public and private sector in Melton Mowbray. They are just starting out on an exciting and innovative journey called Me and My Learning, which aims to support their residents in becoming more digitally and financially independent so they are prepared for work, or better paid work.

The overarching aim in Melton Mowbray is to provide a co-ordinated approach to life skills through information sharing. They are working with providers, services, businesses and clients to make it seamless and easy for the most vulnerable people to get the extra support they need to maximise their chances of becoming more independent. Further information and progress will be shared over the coming months.

So, for the future?

Unfortunately The Smiths split up in 1987, but Jack Johnson has two handily named songs which capture a more positive information sharing landscape; The Sharing Song and Better Together.