Weeknote w/c 23 September: a late weeknote

Crikey, where have the last few days gone? I never manage to wrap up a weeknote on a Friday, but I’m not sure how it’s got to Thursday already… I wondered about making next week’s a fortnight note but am determined not to break my successful run of actual weekly weeknotes, so here we go!

There’s still time to sponsor my team for our Royal Parks half-marathon run on Sunday 13 October. We’re raising funds for Mind so that they can help support positive mental health – it would be great if you could pop a few quid towards our target here! https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=CommunitasTrustRunners&isTeam=true

Senior Managers’ Network

On Wednesday last week we had the latest meeting of Hackney’s Senior Managers’ Network. These are good opportunities to catch up with colleagues from across the Council’s services and what I particularly like is how these are used as an opportunity to share learning with one another and exchange ideas, rather than just broadcasting corporate messages.

Early on in the morning, Cate and Henry had a slot to share how our ‘HackIT Manifesto’ has helped us guide the way we work as a team. It’s good to talk about our goals of putting residents and our interactions with colleagues at the heart of what we do, rather than doing technology for technology’s sake.

There was also a strong theme of putting people first in the updates presented by colleagues from other services. We had briefings from adults’ social care, customer services and policy & partnerships and there was a consistent theme of taking the initiative to rethink the way we do things so that we focus on how we are making things better for people, not just following processes. It was a great reminder of why working for Hackney is so rewarding.

Community libraries

Earlier in the year I spent some time out and about with the community libraries team, who are celebrating the service’s 70th birthday this year (you can read more about that here: https://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/heritage/hackney-community-library-service-celebrates-70-years-1-6204826). In a few weeks’ time they’re holding an event to celebrate this with people coming from across the country to share ideas.

I’ve agreed to join them to talk about the approach we’re taking to our digital work and the work we’re doing together with the libraries service. We’ve also hatched a cunning plan to look at ways that we might work together to support some of the community library service’s users to help them get more from online services. I’m quite excited about that and will share more in a few weeks’ time.

I also…

  • Joined our Brexit planning group for the latest update on Hackney’s preparations for when Britain leaves the EU.
  • Took some time with Cate, Henry and Matthew to look through the proposed questions for our forthcoming annual user survey.
  • Held two more of the discussion groups looking at how we can make sure that Hackney is an inclusive place to work.
  • Met up with Tom to look at the guidance we’re developing on use of photos for work purposes.
  • Took part in work with external partners, including the regular ‘IT enabler’ board which supports health and social care integration across the City and Hackney, and also the regular meeting hosted by the Local Government Association which leads on cyber security and resilience for the sector.
  • And the week ended with the inaugural LOTI social, where a group of us from the HackIT team got together with colleagues from the central LOTI team and partner boroughs for an enjoyable get together.

Something I’ve learned

I’ve long been allergic to grand-standing presentations about ‘transformational change’. Instead, I have a strong preference for taking the long view and building mutual understanding and effective working relationships with colleagues in other services to provide a foundation for us to deliver sustainable improvement together over the longer term.

With this in mind, the presentations at Wednesday’s Senior Managers’ Network were so rewarding. I really enjoyed hearing how those teams have been using ideas that have come out of the work that we’ve been doing together combined with leading thinking in their professional fields to take very different approaches to their work. It felt like a real endorsement for the partnership approach that we’ve been taking and showed lots of opportunities for the future.