A year of work in progress – day 30

Day 30 – 13 February 2014

I have known Gill for some time and so I don’t know if I can claim her as another notch in my tier 4 belt yet in the past we have met to talk about a project or an issue.  My mission (should I choose to accept it?) is to get to know these managers as individuals and that takes a very different type of conversation. 

Gill is the Strategic Manager, County Durham Youth Offending Services, a job title so long it had to be abbreviated to fit into the staff directory on the intranet.  She is part of Children and Adult Services.  I wanted to ask her what motivated her to come into work every day but it was obvious.  Her passion for helping young people to keep out of the criminal justice system or supporting those that are caught up within it should be bottled.  She walks the daily tightrope between looking after the needs of vulnerable children and society’s need to rehabilitate, punish and protect. 

Her retention of knowledge and detail is impressive and her command of all of the complex acronyms incredible.  I thought ICT was bogged down in its use of initials but today we covered Criminal Justice Secure Mail (CJSM), Youth Justice Board (YJB), Youth Offending Team (YOT), Youth Justice Plan (YJP), Youth Justice Management Information System (YJMIS), Her Majesty’s Inspector of Probation (HMIP), Detention and Training Orders (DTO) and Electronic Yellow Envelope (EYE).  There were more but I didn’t have time to write them down.

People said I was mad to try and get to know all of the Tier 4 mangers but each conversation has been fascinating and of enormous value.  The madness lies in not doing this.

After this it was the short drive up to Gateshead for our monthly (almost) meeting of the North East ICT Managers.  Our region has a great opportunity to be an exciting place to live in and invest in using ICT as a catalyst.  Bob Paton from Accenture who is passionate, obsessive or both about apprentices opened up the meeting with a heartfelt plea and a proposal to get more young people into the industry.  We had a long and at sometimes heated conversation about how we as a group could work together to develop an apprenticeship approach for the region.

We then went on to talk about ICT involvement in schools, colleges and universities to get young people and especially girls interested in ICT.  Programming code clubs may be an answer and is something we will be investigating.

Foolishly last Friday I posted a picture of myself on the ICT intranet, leaping out of a golden parcel in Durham Town Square.  It was one of the pictures taken for our first Digital Durham cabinet launch and I felt it would make a good subject for a caption competition, with a small prize of course.  I had seventy one entries.   There were some common themes around either a ‘Jack in the Box’ or disappointed at me not being Hugh Jackman and fortunately there was only one that was close to the knuckle.  I have asked one of my managers to choose the funniest as well as two runners up.

I worked out of seven different offices today.

Learning points for today:  I may be vocationally confused; This is the year of code; There are 44,558 young people between the ages of 10 and 18 in Durham; The police have a very macho system naming convention (sleuth, blue-delta, red-sigma) and; We used to go to meetings but now we go to salons and sandpits.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – Fascinating stuff.

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