A year of work in progress – day 187

Day 187 – 31 October 2014

I had a dream last night that I went to a place. I think it was called Lamely. It was a lovely old building with a walled courtyard and a gate in one corner. There were gravestones leaning at various angles. The place was boarded up yet I had the feeling of déjà vu. I remembered then that I had been there for a job interview and in hindsight was glad that I hadn’t taken it. But I’ve never been there. There is no such place. How strange, how gothic and how Halloween.

They’ve now decided to dig up the A1 just outside Morpeth and so now there are road works nearly all the way from my house to Chester le Street. They’ve even started to dig up the road outside the Honest Lawyer which I got stuck in on the way back from seeing Tony. Is there nothing which isn’t being worked on? Next week, when the schools come back, is not going to be great.

Back at County Hall I had some interesting meetings. Ros and I got together following the paper-light visit to Gateshead. We wanted to talk about whether or not we could adopt something similar here and manage council meetings without paper. We’ve also got a similar meeting on Monday but this time with someone from the Danish Embassy (it’s a long story).

It turns out that we already have the software and that for a small increase in licence fees we could annotate and keep notes on the electronic versions of the documents already held. This is exciting news as the vendor also has a version for Windows devices. We agreed to start a report and to take this through the usual governance and approval processes. I was also able to show Ros a couple of other bits of software that may be useful including unified comms.

I think the people on Monday want to talk to us about the same thing.

Over lunch I had a conversation about electronic signatures. I’ve always been reluctant to get involved in applying a copy of my physical signature to documents but understand that it would be great to be able to mark documents in a way that could not be contradicted. This is one of those things we need to drive out paper and unnecessary bureaucracy. We talked about using authentication, alternative passwords and even geolocation software. My interest was piqued.

Finally we had a meeting of the Homeworking Project Team. It’s been a long time since this group has met and progress has been amazing since. Totally unbeknown to me we now have over one hundred home workers. We’ve got to the point where we could have many more and so I’m going to write out to the Heads of Service and ask for volunteers. Graeme has done a great job and it is good to end the week on a high.

Learning points for today: We have a tendency to complicate the simple; Tony is now moving in rarefied circles; we have some good software that I wasn’t aware of; people have a type they revert to when pressed; gossip travels faster than proper comms and; when you appear in a magazine people will ring you.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – some very interesting things.

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