A year of work in progress – day 150

Day 150 – 4 September 2014

It’s cycle to work day. Perhaps you are amongst the three quarters of a million people who regularly commute on their bikes. What they don’t tell you is that it is cycle back from work day as well. I managed to make it on two wheels but only because I was at County Hall in Morpeth and because it wasn’t raining. I took the big bike with the proper wheels and the crank that is still attached. I still suffered. Neil cycled in as well but his trip was a little longer and he had to come up Plessey Bank.

Today was a day for catching up. I only had one meeting and that was with Alison first thing, which was to bring her up to speed with where we are with the business case and feedback from the Heads of Service visits. Things are cracking on and we’ve managed to get the final draft of the business case completed. There are a few questions still to ask but these will require a steer before they can be answered.

I got as far as I could with the presentation for this round. It’s not for another week or so but I hate to have to run around trying to get the information at the last minute. If it’s put together in a rush then it’s going to come across that way. I’m going to talk about ServCheck (see day 148), take up with Digital Durham and what we are planning for Customer Service Week (6 to 10 October). Marie is going to tell us what is happening with the County Durham Housing Group and what this might mean for the service. I’ve also found an amusing video to kick it off.

I also did some work for the first Dynamo awards event (known as Dynamites) which is taking place in October. We’re putting three bids in. There’s something on Digital Durham, our total paper solution and Aycliffe Young People Centre so we should be in with a shout.

I’ve also started to think about next year. The planning cycle has begun already. It seems to get earlier and earlier each year. Each of the Senior Leadership Team has been asked to think about what we will need to carry forward and what else we would like to add. Steve asked the Senior Project Leads for their suggestions yesterday and Neil is going to ask his people. My initial thoughts are a focus on digital for the customer, an attack on internal bureaucracy (I can never spell that word) and a drive to improve quality. We hope to have something in draft by the beginning of October.

Finally, I got a call out of the blue from Craig, a post-grad student in Manchester who wanted to do his thesis on changes in thinking in local government on the back of austerity. He would like to come and interview me and was amazed that I even picked up the phone. It sounds interesting.

Learning points for today: There are so many things you can put on your mantelpiece, including a Digital Durham bus; TED talks are a mine of useful information and; you never know what the next call will be about.

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – good to get a few things under my belt.

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