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Regional and Special Interest Groups - the lifeblood of ITMSF UK
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For membership organisations like ITSMF UK volunteer input is our lifeblood, and two of our key areas of volunteer activity are Regional events and Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These groups give you the opportunity to meet with your peers, get to grips with topical ITSM issues, build your expertise and contribute to ITSMF UK publications and guidance. In this issue of ServiceTalk we catch up with our current range of regionals and SIGs and the people who are running them.



While ITSMF membership clusters around the major conurbations, there are members in all parts of the country, and our Regional groups reflect this geographical spread. There may not be as many meetings in Aberdeen as in London, but they do happen. We organise a programme of networking meetings across the UK which make it feasible for as many members as possible to participate in ITSMF activities without having to travel too far.

The UK is divided into six regions – London and South East; South West and Wales; Midland and East Anglia; North; Scotland; and Northern Ireland – with a local committee putting together a programme of events in each area. Regional meetings are actually open for any ITSMF UK member to attend and it’s common for the subject matter of a meeting to tempt people from other regions to travel.


Special Interest Groups


Special Interest Groups, as the name implies, have a defined area of focus but their approach is broader. SIGs do hold member meetings, where they get to grips with a particular topic within their area of interest, but they spend more time collaborating behind the scenes. The results of their work can often be seen in outputs such as ITSMF UK pocket guides (the SLM Practitioners Guide and How to do Change, Configuration and Release Management) or white papers (the Transition Management and Problem Management SIGs have particularly been active in this area). The range of people involved includes battle-hardened experts and those much newer to the discipline. 


How do they work… and what about me? 


SIGs and Regionals are free for members to attend and to be involved in. They are a great way to develop your skills and to make a real contribution to ITSMF and the development of our thinking around industry trends. Collaboration is fundamental to the way that SIGs work, and increasingly they are collaborating with each other and with Regionals. 

All these groups are run by a core of committed volunteers, but it’s not a closed shop – there’s always scope for more people to get involved and the groups rely on new members. If you are concerned about how much time would be involved, it’s a good idea to have a chat with some experienced regional or SIG members; everyone has to fit ITSMF activities around the day job, and there is plenty of flexibility. There’s scope to ‘give it a try’ or make occasional contributions, but if you can manage a firmer and more regular commitment, that can be really helpful. 

So have a look at the information that follows and consider which regional and special interest groups would be most relevant to you. And if you have a particular passion for some aspect of service management that you think others might share, maybe you could start a new SIG. That’s how the Service Design SIG started last year.  


Around the regions and SIGs

For more details, and dates of local events, check out the website. Please contact the office if you are interested in speaking at or hosting group events.



The North Region Working Party is chaired by Anna Leyland of Sopra Steria, who has worked in IT Service

Management for almost 20 years as a consultant, trainer and service manager. Our management team includes Geoff Dixon (Deputy Chair), Cath Lancaster (Barclays Bank), Jen Smith (ASDA) and Ben Moore (Call Credit), ably supported by Richard Horton (Events Committee) who works closely with SIGs to plan our events and topics.

Recent years have seen the North Region deliver excellent events on Lean, DevOps, CSI, sustainability and education.  All have been well attended and we try hard to find interesting locations – or provide great food!  We are grateful to the speakers and hosts who make these meeting a success.  Following our June event at the University of Leeds, focusing on Customer Experience and Mobile Service Management, the last event of the year will take place on 10 December at Aviva in York.


Anna Leyland





Scotland region is chaired by Ian Whyte, who also represents the UK regional groups on the ITSMF UK Board. In his day job, Ian is managing director and principal consultant of Bishops Beech Ltd, an independent service management consultancy and training company based near Edinburgh. There are four people on the Scottish organising committee – vice chair Mark Temple (University of Glasgow), Andrew Binnian (RBS), Peter Kirkwood (Scottish Enterprise) and Gordon Findlay (SQA).

The Scottish committee members meet regularly by teleconference to plan upcoming events.  Since we have a particularly large geographical spread, we aim to hold meetings at least once each year in each of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.  

Our 2015 events have included a joint meeting with the local BCS branch in Edinburgh in March on the topic of ‘Effective service management’, and a Glasgow gathering in June on the theme of ‘Service Desk Implementation’.  The Aberdeen event is still in planning, scheduled for late October 2015.


Ian Whyte



Midlands and London/South East


Dave Backham, an ITSM consultant with Soliloquy, is currently chair of Midlands Group and acting Chair of London and South East. 


Midlands and East Anglia


The next Midland regional meeting is to be held at University of Northampton on September 17th. The agenda for this is currently being planned around the ITSMF Big 4 theme ‘People and Skills’. At this session we will be discussing the ever-changing landscape of skills required for service management, since there now appears to be a need for a whole range of skills in addition to ITIL and PRINCE2, such as LEAN, AGILE, and DevOps just for starters. The session will also showcase some of the work done by students on the ITSM Masters’ degree course. 



London and South East


We held a joint Transition SIG and South East Regional meeting on Service Integration and Management (SIAM) at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in Canary Wharf on 8th May. At this well-attended meeting there was a presentation of what ATOS and FCA are doing with SIAM, followed by a presentation from SIAM consultant James Finister and a lively debate about what SIAM is and is not, and what it has become. 

We now look forward to our next regional meeting at the Computacenter offices in Hatfield on 11th September. The meeting agenda is currently being planned around the ITSMF Big 4 theme Service Culture and Customer Experience and we are looking forward to members networking and the opportunity to engage in discussions. It is expected that our hosts Computacenter will share with us how they came to focus on ‘Enabling Users’ as their tagline and the impact that this had had on providing good service and a great customer experience.

Finally, we’re pleased to report that Daniel Breston will be taking over as London & SE regional chair in September.

David Backham



Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland is the smallest regional group, but holds well-attended meetings twice a year under the chairmanship of Maire O’Hare of Belfast City Council. Following a well-received event in May, where ITSMF UK CEO Mike Owen outlined the organisation’s strategy moving forward, the group is now planning its Sept/Oct gathering.



South West and Wales


Mike Unwin from BT has chaired this region for some time, and will shortly be handing over the reins to Simon Hodgson of Sopra Steria.

Following a successful meeting at HP in Bristol earlier this year, the region is currently arranging its next meetings, to be hosted by EDF Energy Barnwood and Eduserv in Bath. Further information in due course. We are particularly keen to get local universities more involved, and are encouraging service managers to talk about their own career development.


Problem Management SIG


The Problem Management SIG is chaired by Barry Corless of Global Knowledge, and has a strong core membership who are focused on delivering timely and experience-based guidance for those working in problem management.

For examples of our work, look no further! We have recently authored an important new research paper, ‘Marketing Problem Management’, drawing on the experiences of corporate members in this area, which is published on page 14 of this issue of ServiceTalk. We are also leading the programme for the forthcoming Problem Management seminar in Birmingham on 22 September. We hope to see you there!


Barry Corless 




Service Level Management SIG


The SIG for Service Level Management, chaired by consultant Barclay Rae, delivers content and events themed around the practical application of SLM. This has included real life pragmatic publications on Service Catalogue and events which focus on how to apply SLM across the service lifecycle. The SIG has also contributed to the emerging SIAM body of knowledge and also is a great place to share ideas and new learning around how to make SLM real and effective.


Barclay Rae



Service Design SIG


Our Service Design SIG is a relative newcomer to our list of groups, chaired by Suzanne Slatter of Sopra Steria. The group is beginning to work on new guidance and material around service design and is planning to provide support for regional groups when it is better established.



Transition and Improvement SIG


From those with a vast experience in traditional enterprise release management to those embarking on a more agile approach to ITSM, the Transition SIG comprises of enthusiastic and committed practitioners from varied roles across the Service Transition field.  This mix of experience, knowledge and thinking from all areas of the field means the Transition SIG is very active and productive. The SIG have produced a number of well received and informative white papers including one recognised as the ‘Submission of the Year’ at the itSMF UK awards in 2014. As well as whitepapers the SIG have collaborated on a popular book around configuration, change and release management, contribute articles to ServiceTalk, have an active Twitter presence and run masterclasses and free events.

Chaired by Matt Hoey, Change Manager at Grant Thornton UK LLP, in the coming months the SIG are looking to tackle the new (and some not so new!) ideas, concepts and movements affecting those who work in transition roles. These include the impact of DevOps, cloud, SIAM and managing transitions nationwide or internationally. They are also running an innovative and interactive session at this year’s ITSMF UK conference.

No matter, if you’re a seasoned practitioner or just starting out on your career in an area of Service Transition, the Transition SIG are always keen to hear from new volunteers. If you want to volunteer or simply just contact them, you can do so via the Regional and Special Interest Groups page on the itSMF UK web site, going along to their ITSM15 session, or finding them on Twitter at @itsmfUKTransMgt.


Matt Hoey



Service Integration and Management SIG


Our newest special interest group focuses on a key issue for service managers, SIAM. The chairman, Steve Morgan of Syniad IT Solutions, was formerly chairman of the SLM group in its early days: “It was great to get a variety of people from various sectors, organisations, backgrounds and cultures, who were united in a common aim – to bring Service Level Management best practices together in a publication.  This was really hard work, but we managed to settle on great SLM principles, and built these into ideas which eventually were published in Service Level Management – A Practitioner’s Guide.  Now, as chair of the SIAM SIG, I’m starting again! I’m passionate about Service Management, and I’m keen to bring together consultants, practitioners and managers who are all involved in SIAM in some capacity, to develop some much needed industry guidance in this area. Look out for our first physical meeting in September!”


Steve Morgan


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