A year of work in progress – day 31

Day 31 – 14 February 2014

Valentine’s Day is the day when love hangs heavy in the air.  What better way to spend the morning than with BT?  We have a meaty contract with them to deliver the broadband infrastructure for the Digital Durham programme and so it’s important that we maintain excellent relations throughout and we have so far.  Broadband Delivery UK, the government’s funding body tell us that we are in the top five projects nationally and that we require the least assistance from them and I put a lot of this down to the focus on building relationships between the provider an ourselves.  They haven’t told me who the other four are.

Running fibre through a duct and connecting it at either end sounds simple enough yet the roll out of superfast broadband across the country it is one of the biggest civil projects that has ever been undertaken.  The programme is riddled with opportunities to fall foul of politics (both internal and external) and geography (nearly always external).  Add to this the need for electricity, planning permission and a skilled workforce and it all adds up to a huge undertaking.

The programme is just about to launch phase 1 in earnest and taking time out to talk face to face was a good use of our time.  There were no roses or chocolates mind but in the words of Seinfeld’s mother ‘What’s not to like?’

After lunch I met with two very pleasant people from Occupational Health who were having real problems with their ICT.  Some were due to misunderstanding but others were down to poor communication while still others were down to the ancient nature of their laptops.  I thought we’d replaced all machines over four years old yet they were still running on six year old machines.  I mean that was back in the noughties and time has moved on.  Beamish museum has been on the phone.

Needless to say we will replace their kit but their visit highlights the need for us to keep trying to improve our communications.  They were very pleasant about it all though.

Andrea was my last meeting of the day and another on my journey into the fabulous world of the tier 4 manager.  She is the Strategic Manage of PPP.  One of my favourite web sites  www.acronymfinder.com tells me that this could be Poly-Para-Phenylene, Preservation, Packaging, and Packing, Pen, Paint & Pretzels or even Practice, practice, practice but surprisingly she is not responsible for any of these.

In her case PPP stands for Policy, Planning and Partnership.  She works with a number of partnership boards across the County including the Safe Durham Partnership, the Health and Wellbeing Board and the Children and Family Partnership.  Once again I was exposed to a whole new set of acronyms and initials.

The social care arena is undergoing enormous change on the back of the Social Care Reform Bill and Joint Strategic Needs Assessment whereby people will take a greater responsibility for their own wellbeing.  Our aging population is changing the landscape in which social care is delivered and has exposed wide divisions in health across the county.  I’m getting on myself and so took note.

This week 88% of my time has been in amongst other people with: 38% with suppliers; 25% with my team and; 37% with customers. 

Learning points for today:  Good news stories don’t always come across that way; We’ve still got customers struggling with unnecessarily old kit and; Romance is alive and well.

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – rounded off a good week.

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