Getting feedback, as we start to come together as a team 

I started the week getting feedback on our first meeting of the senior management team since we’ve restructured as the Camden Digital Service. At the meeting we shared some of the upcoming work from across the team, and focused on how we need to support each other and our teams with so much going on.

A recurring theme through the meeting was around communication — how we communicate with each other, and how we communicate with the rest of the organisation. Across the team there’s a real appetite for working more in the open. Feedback after the meeting has been positive, with folk celebrating the idea of sharing what we’re doing with each other and working together as a group. We committed to building relationships with our colleagues to strengthen our working as a team and move away from more formal ‘work-style’ relationships. Being ourselves, and bringing our whole selves to work is our strength.

There are some things that we need to do differently, and adjust, too. We’ve started the process of coming together as the management team and now need to think about and ensure that we get the whole team involved. We also need to do some more thinking around our collective and individual responsibilities. I’m looking forward to all of the conversations along the way, and hoping that we’ll see some of the cheese (and wine?!) suggested in the first meeting 🙂

Looking at how we do things, and why we do them the way that we do

When I met with Housing colleagues last week we talked about how we’re looking to focus and extend our apprentice recruitment to our residents and their families. We also talked about starting a review of how we support our residents across all aspects of Housing, and what potential there is for us to reinvent and improve those services, placing the resident at the heart of what we do in Housing.

We deliver a large number of different services to our citizens and residents across council departments. Historically those services have either been managed centrally as part of our customer services offer or locally with limited integration between those different delivery approaches.

Our review will look to understand what our residents needs, and how we can best meet them.

Reflecting since my meeting with Housing colleagues, and in my discussion with PA Consulting, I think of how our narrative in local government is changing and what that means in terms of how we do things. When I first started working in local government, colleagues would refer to our role as ‘stewards’ [often of the public purse]. That evolved into a more cooperative approach, and around 2010 we started inviting our citizens and residents to work with us, to co-design and then to co-create services.

Shifting to participation feels to me like the right next step. It means to empower. It also means that we need to think differently about the way services are designed and delivered; and about how systems support those services. We need to reimagine the system; and for us that will start with our upcoming review.

…and onto week 29

I’m looking forward to attending the July monthly induction session and welcoming the latest intake of new starters to Camden. I’ll also be visiting our office in Hampstead, to meet with colleagues and reflect on their thoughts and observations following our Chief Executive’s ‘listening box’ exercise.

Folk across the office are starting to head off for summer holidays, and we have our last ‘class assembly’ (and end of year 6 show!) at our primary school. We don’t head off for a month or so and the countdown has begun.

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