A year of work in progress – day 172

Day 172 – 10 October 2014

Life can only be understood in retrospect. You can extrapolate all you like but we live in a chaotic system and the past is definitely no guarantee of the future. Last night’s by-election results and the subsequent political machinations are testament to this. Because something has happened does not mean that one possible outcome is guaranteed. There is no direct cause and effect. We can make every effort to try and shape the future but life will throw up its own challenges, time and time again.

I’ve really enjoyed the activities over Customer Service Week. Spending time with my colleagues in and amongst our customers has reminded me of what a good set of people we have, doing difficult jobs under pressured circumstances. It has also highlighted to me that many of our customers have a low level of understanding when it comes to the power at their fingertips. Most of those that I interacted with on the MOT day yesterday had never used Windows Explorer and had a poor understanding of file management in general.

This is a real problem for both the efficiency of ICT Services and the overall authority. It makes it very difficult from us to deliver the levels of service that we would like and so we need to work hard to remove the need for user intervention in upgrades, for example, and continue to focus on making sure things don’t fail. It is something I need to think about but with ideal timing I’ve started on a presentation on ICT for the Office Accommodation Programme which I will be delivering to the Tier 4 Managers later in the month.

I had quite a quiet morning. Somehow I had only one appointment though my afternoon was full. I think that is just bad planning. I was able to catch up. It’s always a good feeling to be able to start next week without too much of a back log. I made my way to work down in Business Support and walked in on a team meeting which is always good to see. The post times have been changed and they were working on how to rearrange their jobs.

Just before lunch we had the last planned event for Customer Service Week, a pan-ICT quiz. To make it awkward we tried using video conference with three teams, one from Meadowfield, Spectrum and Tanfield. Tom was the quiz- master of ‘Universally Challenged’ and Sarah took the role of Carol Vorderman (I know I’m mixing our television programmes). They did a fantastic job as did Cath who arranged it all. After a tight competition Spectrum was the winner with one hundred and forty points, Tanfield came second with seventy and Meadowfield came a close third with zero. In true local government style though everyone went away with a medal.

After lunch Steve and I met with the first two of our Big Data meetings following the soft market exercise.

Learning points for today: there is a toilet paper fairy; Sean Connery did not go to Durham University; Stockport Council use Snow Patrol as background music to their call centre system (hold music); people take competitions very seriously and; there are no losers just third place winners.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – great end to the week.

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