A year of work in progress – day 204

Day 204 – 27 November 2014

Twelve years a local government officer. Well, it’s not quite twelve years really, it’s more like eleven but you were not to know. Anyway, I have been a senior officer in local government for over eleven years now and managed to avoid an Audit Committee. That is until today. Steve was supposed to join me but something came up. All very convenient I say.

I’m not sure how I have managed it. Perhaps the areas in which we ply our trade are not controversial enough or are not on the radar of the politicians or perhaps they are just not interesting (it turns out that this was not true). I was not however summonsed or subpoenaed to appear. Instead my attendance was entirely elective.

For several months now we have had a number of outstanding audit issues all related to our business continuity plan. Rather than highlight to the committee that we are repeatedly pushing the expected completion dates back I felt that it would be a better idea to go an explain what we had achieved and why some of the things we were trying to do are proving to be a little challenging. A pre-emptive apology can sometimes go a long way.

I’ll not go into the detail but we have strong continuity plans in place. Since local government review we have strengthened all of our core technologies and are much more resilient but, like Paris, business continuity is a moveable feast. No matter how much you have done you can always do more. I took the group through where we had got to and then what we are doing now. It went well.

Next up I met with a local training provider to talk about the development of an apprentice hub. Dynamo are already engaged in creating a fast track level two process which will contribute to a flow of apprenticeship-ready young people for those companies that are looking to take someone on. I think a pilot will be announced shortly.

My idea is to provide a mechanism whereby apprentices can work in part for the Council and in part for other organisations, including the community and voluntary sector, who are either too small or cannot make the commitment to a full time apprentice. We would underwrite the positions. This would hopefully increase the number of organisations who are able to get involved and at the same time spread the experience of those within the apprentice scheme. My thinking is that this will make them more work-ready and so stand a better chance of getting a job. More better jobs.

I’m meeting with our HR team next week to develop this further (hopefully).

I also had meetings to talk about the architecture map (or is it the application map), the role of ICT in the future of the North East economy and our future plans for Building Schools for the Future. I’ll leave these to another time though.

Learning points for today: I’ve lost the ability to write with a pen; if I’m not going to write I need to learn how to type and spell; County Hall can lead to Stockholm syndrome and; Blyth Spartans do have a supporters shop but it’s only open on match days.

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – could do with more sleep.

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