Monday, September 28, 2009

ICT - slave or master?

Once upon a time there were some councillors who wanted to be able to do such complicated things as download and save a document to read off line later. Those same councillors wanted to be able to write letters on their laptop sititng out in the garden or waiting for visitors to their ward surgeries and then to email said letters at a suitable time later. Foolish councillors - they didn't realise that this is too complicated for the wonderful IT system to cope with. To be able to do such things they need to have endless visits from the computer doctor who seems to get younger and more chirpy with every passing problem. And all because a team of computer doctors devised a solution to a problem, not realising that their miracle cure would cause a myriad of other problems in its wake.
Thus, this morning I had a meeting at the unforgiveable hour of 9am in Municipal Buildings. Unforgiveable not because I had to leave home early but because that time means travelling through all the school traffic and parking problems on the estate. The schools supposedly have green travel plans but all I can say is that they don't seem to have much impact on the number of cars taking children to school each morning.
The computer doctors listened to us, nodded sagely and promised to cure the problems.
So what happens? 9 hours later an email from Suzanne to say that the problems have got worse and cost her an enormous amount of time this afternoon. The patient is not cured and there is no sign of a cure on the horizon. The rest of our group are protecting our computers jealously, lest they too succumb to the dreaded "upgrade".
This evening I chaired the shortest ever meeting of the Western Area Partnership Board. The main business of the evening was an update on the work starting in the area on helping people to cope with financial problems in the recession. It's starting later in the year than we'd hoped but sounds even more comprehensive than we'd first thought so a bit of swings and roundabouts. I just hope that people find it helpful. If you live in Eaglescliffe, Yarm, Long Newton, Elton, Kirklevington or Aislaby watch out for the flyer coming through your letter box. If nothing else it has some useful phone numbers on it and a helpful checklist to look at your monthly income and outgoings.

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