My word what a year 2022 has been. Ups, downs, lefts and rights I can safely say I know all the moves to the Time Warp (it’s just a step to the left…).

If you’ll indulge me for just a moment, I wanted to reflect on 2022 in terms of myself, Lighthouse IG and also the wider community.

I think we all started off 2022 with relatively high hopes. Covid was in decline, and things we recovering slowly but surely, we had a new Information Commissioner and here at Lighthouse towers, we were looking at some new services and products to offer our lovely clients. A time of relative optimism.

Can I see the year turned out the way we all had hoped? Yes and no.

The New Commissioner:

I’m not going to comment on the effectiveness of the new commissioner as that remains to be seen. I am sceptical of the new approach, certainly, but can I state conclusively that the new commissioner is going to fall flat on his face? No, I can’t. So it’s certainly not the ‘new day’ we were hoping for, but I can’t say it’s a disaster either. The jury’s out on that one.

The ’new’ law:

We also had news that off the back of the ‘Data a new direction’ consultation we would be getting legislation in Parliament to change the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR. With the various nonsenses that went on with Government that appears to have stalled/not stalled. So who knows what 2023 will bring with it? Maybe we will start in 2023 in the same position we were in at the start of 2022? A new draft text and a completely idiotic plan to fix all the wrong things with Data Protection law. Or is that just me being cynical?

Work in the profession:

As well as the day job I also give back to the profession through volunteering at the Information & Records Management Society (IRMS). I’ve done this now for almost 10 years starting in 2012 and still knocking around – like a bad smell!

And like any good bad smell, it gets everywhere! *inserts evil laugh*

I essentially have 2 roles in the IRMS at the moment. I’m helping the Isle of Man regional group get up and running and am Chair of the Accreditation & Fellowship Subcommittee.

The regional group role made sense as through my role at Act Now I’ve been lucky enough to get to know the Isle of Man and coach a growing amount of professionals on the Island. So with support from the Isle of Man Government and the previous regional lead, Rupert Leaton, we have got a local group up and running again. In Feb 2022 we ran one of our first face-to-face sessions in a couple of years. A packed agenda day held in Douglas at the iMuseum with over 50 attendees. Then later in the year, we ran a joint event with the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce, the Isle of Man Government and the Islands Data Governance Forum on some of the ‘risks’ posed by the use of Microsoft 365 with Rob Bath from Intelogy.

Thanks to the efforts of Steph Luce in Jersey, the ‘Islands Data Governance Forum’ was founded and I am honoured to have been asked to join their organising committee with Kurt Roosen for the Isle of Man. In my mind, this means there is no real need for an IRMS group on the island anymore, we can simply be a joint supporting venture across all islands. A brilliant idea and something I’m very much looking to support as we grow into 2023.

My other ‘hat’ at the IRMS has been my Accreditation subcommittee hat. With a team of 7 other volunteers, we are charged by the IRMS Executive with overseeing the operations and development of IRMS Accreditation & Fellowship. The subcommittee has been working brilliantly over the last 2 years to refresh and modernise Accreditation and this year we finished off some more elements to it and looked at expanding into more areas.

For example, through Barry Moult, we were very pleased to be invited on behalf of the Society to be the professional body for the DP & IG apprenticeships programme. As an SC we oversaw the implementation of this arrangement within the Society, its promotion and ensuring it was clearly marked on the IRMS website for members to find and use.

We were also asked to take on the operation and development of the mentoring programme which we have just finished reviewing and are ready to re-launch. So while I can’t share too much, I can say watch this space as we enter 2023 as this will be yet another professional development benefit for members.

Finally, and quickly as I can’t share too much, I and others have been working on a totally new initiative we are looking to consult with members on in the new year. This a very exciting project in the professional development world so watch this space!

Developments at Lighthouse IG:

So what about the day job? How has 2022 been for Lighthouse IG and me professionally? Overall, I’d say a not bad year. Much better than 2020, better than 2021. So continuing that upward curve is very welcome.

I did accept this year that the workload was getting too much and that help was needed. Since February I’ve had a virtual assistant who has been a great help in getting admin and other marketing tasks done. Due to changing circumstances I, unfortunately, need to search for another one and refocus on what we need them to do, but the fact that we have reached a stage to afford and warrant one is a milestone. So the first job for 2023 – recruit a new one, specifically with marketing experience!

Also, in October we were 3 years old! What’s the old test for businesses? If it lasts more than 3 years that’s a good sign it’s stable enough to have a future. We shall see what the coming recession brings but so far so good.

Personal development:

Personally, I’ve shared before that health-wise, 2020-22 has had a few health challenges. 2020 being the worst and 2022 definitely improving. We still have some way to go before I can say I’m back to relative ‘normality’, and the Kidney Stone could strike at any moment and cause disruption, but no point worrying about it.

I also decided this year to actually do something about my professional development. So I dug out my old professional development plan and spruced it up for 2022-23. I now have a plan of what skills, courses and qualifications I want to achieve over the next 5 years. Well, some are more like 10 years as it’ll take me that long to save for them, but nonetheless – we have a cunning plan!

It started with sitting the BCS Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection exam in November. Which I can safely say I passed and have that back under my belt. I had let it drop post GDPR which was a mistake. But that is now corrected so maybe I could even explore teaching it in the future. Who knows!

I’ve just embarked on my Practitioner Certificate in Records Management with PDP, taught by the fabulous John Wilson. I’ve had 1 classroom-based session so far with 2 more booked online for February and an assessment at the end of it. While my experience in RM is all ‘hands-on’, I thought it was about time I had some form of ‘formal’ recognition of ability. So wish me luck! Can you imagine the embarrassment if I fail it??

I’ve also decided that I don’t get out much – literally. My diary fills up so quickly that networking events and others just pass me by. I see interactions on social media etc and it’s passed me by as I didn’t get to it until a few days later. As someone that suffers from imposter syndrome (and lives alone), this was extremely isolating for me. So I decided enough was enough and I needed to do something about it. So I literally got out more. First at the Privacy Space event in November then a few other networking and other events. All of these are in the diary for 2023 and, with some social media & admin help, means I’ll also be able to blog more and interact more again. You lucky things you!

So, if you’ve read this far I salute you. This blog post was a little bit for your benefit and a little bit for mine (soz, not soz).

Overall 2022 has been a year of ups and downs, but luckily more ups than downs. To all those that I work with, support, or support me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish you a great 2023.