Weeknote w/c 28 October: reflecting on how we’re doing and our next steps

Away day

On Friday last week we had our regular quarterly Divisional Management Team away day, kindly hosted by colleagues at Addaction (one of the UK’s leading drug, alcohol and mental health charities) in their Clerkenwell offices. Once again, I found it very useful to step away from the day to day hurly burly and take time to reflect together. 

This time we focused on the development of our team and considered what we should be looking at to continue to develop our service and the contribution we make for Hackney. Lots of very positive progress has been made since our restructure early last year, and it was good to reflect on this. But there’s always something that needs to be focused on next, so it was useful to take the time to think through what our priorities should be.

This was also timely, as it gave us an opportunity to look at the follow up work to the recent inclusion conversations (https://blogs.hackney.gov.uk/hackit/thinking-and-acting-inclusively) and include that in our thinking.

The main areas we looked at were:

  • Taking stock of where we are now, looking at what’s working well and our next areas for focus
  • Further developing leadership across our service, developing a suggested programme of workshops for the next six months
  • Our approach to supporting career development and succession planning across our teams
  • Ways that we can respond proactively to the demand for support from our teams – eg by using fixed term roles to increase capacity where needed
  • We also reflected on our personal goals for the next year

Modern tools optimisation

On Monday afternoon we looked at the next steps with our Modern Tools for Work programme. Over the last eighteen months we’ve made significant progress, providing fast, modern collaboration tools, refreshing end-of-life PCs and laptops, updating meeting room technology, making fast, reliable wifi available across our core buildings, and refreshing our policies and guidance to help colleagues get the most from these. We’re now looking at how we can build on that to help teams get the most from these improvements.

The sort of questions I’m keen for us to explore include how might we….

… support service teams in modernising the way they work so that they can increase collaboration, improve efficiency and enhance service delivery to residents?

… further develop our service’s capabilities to offer a practical advisory service which can help turn the insights from the user research we’ve been doing with service areas into tangible improvements in the ways that their teams work?

… achieve savings through reducing the use of expensive, legacy software (including, but not limited to, Microsoft Office)?

… enable more effective partnership working by using the capabilities in the new productivity technologies (eg with TMOs, schools, the voluntary sector etc)?

Ollie is working with Henry to scope the follow up work and I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops.

I also…

  • Joined the Adults Social Care management team to discuss the changes we’re developing for mobile telephony.
  • Had the quarterly Hackney Digital meeting with the Mayor and Cllrs McKenzie and Nicholson. Henry gave a really positive update on the work we’re doing on our connectivity programme and the feedback from Members was very helpful.
  • Was pleased to see more services using Google+ to work together collaboratively. It’s interesting to see how this is being taken up as a way to share information across teams and make communication more interactive (helped by the great work that Jenny and Hannah in comms have been doing to promote this to management teams across the Council).
  • Was also pleased to see the team weeknotes that Lindsay and Rashmi shared, giving an overview of the work that their teams have been doing. I find it really helpful to catch up with people’s work and learn a bit more detail about the work we’re delivering.
  • Thought that Ola and Tom did a great job providing updates to Thursday’s Information Governance Group. We’ll be taking some time to think this through when Nic (our new Corporate Information & Knowledge Manager) joins us at the end of the month so that we make the meetings are as useful as possible for colleagues.
  • Enjoyed the DevOps end of alpha show and tell. It’s great to see how this has progressed and it feels like we’ve got a really clear direction to work towards now.
  • Took part in a debrief session looking at how the Council responded to the recent fire in Clapton. It was helpful to reflect on this together with colleagues from other services involved. The Council’s response worked very well and we identified some useful ways that we can adapt the response to emergencies in future to make sure that we are supporting our residents effectively.
  • Spent some time with colleagues in finance picking through the intricacies of tax rules. Much fun was had by all concerned…
  • Said goodbye and thank you to Nic, who’s now moved up to Sheffield. Nic’s done great work helping us to develop our delivery practices and the scale of his bravery and ambition was demonstrated by scheduling a house move the day after his leaving drinks.

Something I’m re-learning

I’ve decided that I’m going to start cycling to work and on Saturday I picked up my new bike. It’s nearly 30 years since I cycled regularly, so as well as looking forward to this I’m also a teeny bit nervous. I’m arranging to book myself onto one of the Council’s cycle training courses to make sure that I’m picking up any bad habits early.

(If you’re interested in looking into cycling into work then do check out the Council’s bike loan scheme and the staff benefits available for buying a bike: http://intranet.hackney.gov.uk/travel/).