A year of work in progress – day 124

Day 124 – 16 July 2014

Another day, another presentation and this time it was to the Heads of Service Forum at Northumberland, at least it should have been had we not had a last minute cancellation. Neil and I had prepared a set of slides to bring them up to date with the work to bring the two services together along with an up to date list of projects that will affect their services. ICT is at the top of their work plan and we said we would bring regular updates. Fortunately we developed our slides using the trusty reuse method, which is creating a new presentation out of the bones of another. The majority of the story was the same as we had used with the Northumberland team last week and the additional stuff would be useful anyway. It’s a good methodology and the free time is always gratefully accepted. In the end we decided to mail them the presentation anyway.

The day started at Tanfield for a regular Senior Leadership Team meeting. Before it started, I walked around the site to chat with the team. The print and design work seems to be holding up and we’re getting a lot of enquiries for the new mailing service. I’m surprised how many people are still not aware of this service despite a large amount of publicity. We must try harder or find better ways to tell our story.

This week it was a performance and so there were lots of financial and audit items to cover. Lee still managed to be late even though it was close to home. He went to County Hall instead. We had visitors from procurement, finance and audit so there were plenty of things to get our heads around. Understanding finance is a black art while keeping up with audit is always a challenge. We agree to things that seem reasonable at the time and then before you know it we’re overdue.

The cancellation , or rather rearrangement, of the Heads of Service forum was a blessing in the end as it gave Neil and I an opportunity to spend some time with the Deputy Leader at Northumberland. Perhaps it was meant to be. Getting political support for what we are doing is just as important (if not even more so) as officer support.

After lunch Neil and I caught up as we won’t see each other for a few weeks due to holidays and it’s important we keep the momentum going. In that vein I did some work on the collaboration plan around our external customers.   It’s all going to schedule.

Learning points for today: You can never get your effort back; you should check your diary before leaving; working in a new office can be unnerving at the start but that soon disappears; I now know where Julia sits and; diary confusion can create an opening for something else.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – a good management Wednesday.

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