A year of work in progress – day 148

Day 148 – 2 September 2014

It is often said that the greatest assets of an organisation is its people. It’s an awful cliché but it is true. The best thing about the council is the great people who work there and the best thing about what I have been doing with the tier four managers is that I have had the opportunity to meet many of them

There are those who have said that I am mad to try and get around them all but it is mad not to try. How else would you get to understand this organisation better and how else can I help design services that meet their needs if I don’t at least try to know them? I’ve passed half way now and may not have time to get them all done this year but it has been a revelation.

I met Julie, the Countywide Strategic Manager One Point at the centre in Chester-Le-Street. One of the questions that I always ask is what it is that makes them come into work but this time there was no need.   Julie’s enthusiasm for what she does was apparent from the minute we started talking. She described how One Point is a fledgling service (it is still developing) and is a mixture of health and local authority services to support families with children from nought to nineteen years old.

The services they offer can be as diverse as they want to be and are focussed around parenting skills, early learning play opportunities and healthy life styles. The service has moved from being demand lead (those who come in through the door) to needs lead (those who need the service most).

Today was dominated by two things. Firstly I met with Deloitte’s who have been asked to help us with our accommodation programme. What was meant to be an investigation of where ICT is within the organisation turned into an hour long rant by me about our culture. Oh dear! They were very nice about it though. We have a lot of the tools that we need in place to support future accommodation styles but we need help with what is missing. We don’t know what we don’t know and I’m sure Deloitte can help with their experience of these things.

The second was a meeting to look at the results from the ServCheck (an Institute of Customer Service online survey of employees that assesses their view of our strategy, culture and processes). This is the third time we have run this and the figures did not look good. In all areas our scores were lower than they were two years ago. I must admit to feeling despondent and deflated at first look. After a while though we got round to thinking about what the numbers were telling us and started a plan. The group is going to have a think about it further and we’ll come back to it in a few weeks. I’ll also raise it at the next presentation.

Learning points for today: We should look at the skills at our disposal and use them in different situations; you can wash glasses with hand soap (though I wouldn’t recommend it); sometime people need to be told (however much I don’t like to); Sarah’s dad drew the straight arrow on the side of the ‘Golden Arrow’ and; I should be careful with some of the things I say.

Today’s enjoyment rating 6/10 – some bitter pills to swallow

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