A year of work in progress – day 107

Day 107 – 13 June 2014

It is normally me who stands up at the front and does the presentations but not today. The Corporate Management Team do some regular, if not very frequent, state of the nation presentations and go around the various main buildings to talk to the people. Shamefacedly I have to admit that I have never been to one, partly because I imagine that I am aware of what they are going to say and partly because I’m usually somewhere else.

This morning there was one on at Tanfield and so I decided to make the effort. I rearranged my one-to-one with Tony so we could both be there. The Digital Durham programme is going really well. Our twenty fifth cabinet went live yesterday and the run rate is picking up. The total homes passed figure (THP), which is the contractual measure that we use, has been passed for phase one a few weeks ahead of schedule. It all bodes well but as I find myself saying constantly, there is a long way to go.

Tony told me about the presentation he’d given to the regional OpenReach team to explain how our programme was set up, how it is progressing from a local authority perspective and the effect that the Superfast Extension Programme will have. We’ve had some changes in the team and it turns out that everyone in the team’s first name starts with an A except Janine and Tony. I’ll refer to him as Anthony from now on.

Back to the CMT presentation which was delivered by Don. It was very good and well worth attending. He started with the Council of the Year award and what this has meant for us. The judges were impressed with quality of the entries (there were more than six hundred overall) and that Durham continues to innovate to ensure we provide residents with the best quality services. Our community engagement through Area Action Partnerships including the work we did on participatory budgets was described by the judges as exemplary.

We are the first unitary council to have submitted their spatial plan, known snappily as the County Durham Plan and Don went on to describe how we are playing an increasingly bigger regional role.

In the afternoon we had a CRM board meeting which is drawing the business case nicely to a conclusion. I then met with Graham and Joanna to talk about our apprentice programme and how it could be linked into the North East ICT Managers and other regional initiatives.

I’m off next week but Scott managed to procure nine books for me from his secret stash, six in Spanish and three in Dutch. The Dutch ones are aimed at teenagers and so I may have a chance. I know what I will be doing next week.

Learning points for today: You can get speed buckets but I think I knew this already; there is a right way to do things; several of us are in the twilight of our careers; Durham has had eleven straight years of improvement in educational attainment and; our enterprise operating model is not as hard as I thought.

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – always a little rushed before a holiday.

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