The Five Key Questions We Asked Phil Gibson Of Innopsis

May 28, 2015

We sat down recently with Phil Gibson of Innopsis, the new name for the old Public Services Network trade association PSNGB, and we asked him five key questions. This is what he came back with:

What does your new name mean?

We've rebranded this month because we see that the world of PSN has moved on. While there remain some final issues around compliance, it's tinkering, really; this is now a mature, accepted technology, well on its way to roll-out right across the UK public sector. So we needed an identity that reflects that. We wanted the word 'innovation' in there, as well as 'public sector.' But a big new emphasis for all of our members going forward is also 'information security,' which completes the name.

OK - so you see PSN as having 'won'? What makes you so sure?

Government set up PSN as it needed to reduce duplication of networks, simplify things, reduce complexity around procurement and promote standardisation. It also wanted to foster more interest in collaboration and shared services. I think most objective observers would agree that's mostily been achieved, or at least started.

So why do we need anything like your body now?

Because the focus now has to be on the next level; sharing of information on this great new common infrastructure. That's why we are issuing a call for the UK public sector to work to develop the best information governance standards we can to allow teams from all sorts of organisations, from local government to health to social care, to better work together. It's time to stop trying to do this with spreadsheets, that's a real blockage. We're going to push for that to start happening more and more.

What are your expectations of the next five years, now we really are post Election?

I think it's genuinely going to be exciting. Some great groundwork's been done, probably all we need. We also know that austerity isn't going away, it's the new normal - it might even get tougher. That's presenting some people with really tough choices; really coming down to, do we stop providing certain services all together, or do we look to find new ways of working? Most people are taking up the challenge of doing the latter. ICT teams need to step up here to help this process; the focus, quite rightly, of the team as a whole is on keeping the service up and running, that's all they care about. What are you doing to help? Let's get out there are stop this happening by clumsy workarounds, like spreadsheets, but instead by much safer, efficient new methods of working.

Interesting, thanks. So what is your message to the 24n audience overall, Phil?

I think it's time for some real ambition. We need creativity. We know there are some constraints that just won't go away. We need your readers to start asking themselves what they are doing, today, to support the sharing and collaboration we all know needs to start to meet those realities. This is a conversation we've already started with GDS - but it's one that every team out there needs to be having now, too.


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