A year of work in progress – day 194

Day 194 – 11 November 2014

Armistice day. As I’ve got older I have felt more and more affected by today and all the remembrance that surrounds it. The world is such a beautiful place yet can be filled with evil. It pains me to think of those lives lost in conflict and I struggle to understand the ideologies and the forces that collude to make the killing inevitable. War has been such a part of man’s history and regrettably will be a part of our foreseeable future. Today is a very poignant and we should never forget.

We stopped what we were doing at eleven o’clock. Steve and I were in the middle of our ninth Big Data discussion. Only one more to go. I don’t normally mention the company that we were with but this time it was O2. This activity goes all the way back to the Local Government Digital Fund competition that they held way back in February (day 27) and it just shows how long it takes for some things to get going. It is an interesting conundrum to try and get people to see something that you can when they arrive from different perspectives. It was another good session.

Before then though I had an hour to kill. I seem to have been swamped lately with emails and reports to write and it has proved hard to keep on top. My limit of fifty emails in my inbox has been increasingly difficult to stick to. I made a start on the presentations which are due at the end of November as they take several iterations to come to fruition. Lee is going to help me with then this time.

Before lunch I met up with the architects who are considering our desk needs for the future as part of the Office Accommodation Programme. I’d struggled to fill in their questionnaire especially around the question of how many people need a desk. After all, does anyone need a desk? We agreed a way forward that reflected the different types of work that goes on within the service and I said I’d try and get the details back before the end of the week.

David is the Property Planning & Projects Manager within Legal and Democratic Services. He manages the half of the service that is non-contentious, that is does not (normally) go to court. This includes such things as property transactions and contract conditions. His side of the business requires a different skill set to the more litigious. They need to be able to draft intelligible documents that contain legal certainty and which will minimise the scope for disputes by parties in the future. They are pedantic about wording, definitions and clarity in order to avoid assumptions.

His role is to keep the council out of court unnecessarily and ensure that it operates within the law and is doing things in a manner that is defensible.

Finally I went to the Core Group and gave an update on Digital Durham, accommodation and ran through the last Strategic Group meeting. I also had the chance to rehearse our draft application map.

Learning points for today: 93% of the adult population owns or uses a mobile phone, 61% of these are smartphones; lawyers used to get paid by the word and then by the hour and; I need to rehearse more.

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – interesting stuff.

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