Weeknote w/c 24 February: back from a break


The week before last was an opportunity to visit Berlin (catching up with friends who now live there). I was really impressed with the city. It has many complex histories, and as well as keeping a history geek like me well occupied I thought that the way much of that was marked was very impressive – neither sensationalist nor ducking the harder issues.

I’m definitely keen to visit again and have time to find out more. I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t visited before.

Customer Services steering group

On Tuesday we met with Cabinet Members and senior managers from several services for our latest Customer Services steering group meeting. I’m pleased with how this is developing, with a clear focus on how we can design services to meet complex needs, not just delivering ‘channel shift’ (an area where Hackney has already made significant progress).

We’ve agreed to focus on a few specific challenges and Matthew and Zoe provided an update on the discovery work that’s happened so far. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly recommend reading the weeknotes from the Complex Customer Journeys work to find out more about the team’s progress: https://blogs.hackney.gov.uk/hackit/complex-customer-journeys-weeknotes-w-c-17-02-20.

I also…

  • Met up with colleagues from a council in Northern Ireland who visited HackIT Towers for a chat about the work we’re doing and to share experiences. It was great to hear that they’d found our blog useful reading and we had lots in common in terms of our aspirations for ways that technology and data can improve services for citizens.
  • Had a really good walk through the progress so far with OneCase (the new system for managing Complaints, Freedom of Information requests, Member Enquiries and Subject Access Requests which will be rolling out soon) which was delivered by Emma. While we’re having to work within the constraints of the ‘off the shelf’ system that we’ll be using, I was really encouraged to see how carefully the team is thinking about the user experience and also the collaborative work that’s taking place to make sure that the roll out goes well.
  • Spent some time with finance colleagues looking at how we can develop our approach for building the capacity we need to meet services’ demands while also making sure that we’re continuing to build a sustainable team (including not becoming too reliant on agency staffing) and managing financial risk. We’ll be following that up once Cate’s back to make sure we have a model in place that can be used consistently across our service.
  • Had a useful conversation with a colleague at another council to talk through the opportunity to help them with a peer review they’re planning. I think that this offers as much of an opportunity to learn from others as it is to share from our own experience in Hackney. 
  • Joined colleagues from Children’s & Families Services as part of the work they’re doing to develop their strategic focus for the year ahead.

Something I’m learning

I *must* remember to book a clear day after I return from leave to give myself time to get back up to speed with things. I failed to do that this time and I’m wishing I had… 😣