Weeknote w/c 6 May: thinking about the future workforce and agreeing the first LOTI priorities

A shorter week thanks to the bank holiday, but I don’t think the resulting weeknote is any shorter!

Workforce development

I joined an interesting discussion about Hackney’s workforce development strategy at the start of the week. This builds on lots of work that’s already been taking place, including:

  • The Council’s award winning apprenticeship programme
  • Our new recruitment site (https://recruitment.hackney.gov.uk), which is designed to help promote the opportunities that Hackney offers and will also save money on ‘microsites’ for supporting recruitment campaigns
  • The simpler ‘check in’ process for performance management that was introduced last autumn
  • Work to provide a rich set of learning and development opportunities
  • And new ways of working together, including growing use of ‘show and tells’ and online communities to share our work with colleagues

The Council’s ambition is to be the best place to work in local government and we discussed ways that we can continue our journey to achieve this. Ideas that I thought were especially important included:

  • Sustained commitment to broadening diversity (especially at senior levels) both through our recruitment and also by supporting our people to progress so that we are continuing to build a diverse workforce for the future which reflects the borough we serve
  • Encouraging curiosity and exploration of ways that technology, data and new ways of delivering services can help us to deliver excellent services for our residents
  • Continually looking for ways that we can showcase and role model the innovative and sector leading work that is happening across the Council to help inspire further progress and promote Hackney as a place to do great work

LOTI (the London Office for Technology & Innovation)

On Wednesday morning I caught up with the other members of the core group of 15 councils who have committed to working together to launch LOTI. This followed the workshop a few weeks ago where we looked at the governance arrangements (https://bytherye.com/2019/04/08/weeknote-20190408/). For this session we focused on the initial set of priorities that we will work on together.

I liked that we took an action oriented approach, identifying some things that we can crack on with right away ahead of the new LOTI team starting in post in the summer. These initial pieces of work will help lay the foundations for follow on work and build momentum.

One of these initial priorities we agreed is working together to grow the number of digital apprenticeships across the boroughs, building on the 20 digital apprenticeships we have at Hackney and related work that the other LOTI councils have been doing. We believe that by sharing our experience and helping managers and apprentices to work together across our boroughs we can make a big impact on digital skills, create new work opportunities and help to build the diversity of our teams. Cate and I have agreed to lead on this and we’re hoping to bring a working group together within the next month or so to agree our objectives and get things moving.

Other highlights from last week were:

  • Cate and I spent some time with finance colleagues to plan for the review of our finances that we’ll be doing this week. This is important to make sure that our budgets are well managed and that we are prioritising the right areas of work to respond to future financial risks and opportunities.
  • We had a really good Delivery DMT. The approach we introduced in January (https://bytherye.com/2019/01/15/weeknote-20190115/) to help us focus on key cross-cutting priorities seems to be working well and is helping us to think in a joined up ‘one team’ way. We noted some positive progress on areas of work that we had identifed as needing focus and agreed that for this month we will focus on:
    • refreshing our ‘HackIT manifesto’, including offering new members of our team the opportunity to help shape our service’s culture
    • completing the finance review
    • shaping the ‘digital support services’ work
    • work to refresh our strategic approach to recruitment to help us continue to hire great people into our team
    • working with colleagues in other services to set up a new cross-cutting Member customer services board to help drive forward the transformation of resident facing services across the Council
  • I joined an interesting meeting with another supplier where we discussed our views on the direction technology should be taking. We heard again that the supplier wants to move faster towards web and mobile computing, which aligns with our direction, but that many of their clients are asking for a much more traditional approach. How might we encourage more local authorities to push the technology market towards a modern approach?
  • And on Friday I joined the other members of the Council’s ‘GOLD’ team for a second training day where we had a (surprisingly engaging) session on the legal requirements for emergency management and did some scenario based thinking to test out our skills.

Something I’m learning

On Wednesday I learned that it’s possible to get a remarkable amount of stuff done using a watch as your only connected device (I chose to leave my phone at home because I was taking part in a run at the Olympic Park in the evening). Battery life was, however, a challenge… More on that here: https://bytherye.com/2019/05/08/the-future-is-here-it-just-doesnt-last-the-whole-day-yet/.