Archive for February, 2011

Guest blog: supporting families and communities

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Eric RobinsonI am pleased to take advantage of my guest blogger status this week, to say thank you to all those who have been involved in the Contributions consultation.  You may know that over the coming decades there will be a huge increase in the numbers of elderly and vulnerable adults who will need care, and the consultation has been asking how we fund social care for these people.

Many people were drafted in at short notice to work on the consultation and still had your ‘day jobs’ to do, which makes the commitment shown even more commendable.  Last week the Contributions consultation was presented to and approved by Cabinet and was very positively received.  The positive customer interaction that has taken place at all steps of the process, and in particular the telephone helpline, was acknowledged.

Elsewhere, the pace of change is moving very quickly.  Within People we have a series of major projects to transform and improve front line services.  Families First is about delivering the right help at the right time so that children, young people and families have the best possible outcomes in life. It represents a real change to the way we work to support children and families.  At the same time we are creating a single integrated county wide Community NHS Trust called the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust which will integrate adult social care services with community health.

These are exciting changes which will help us achieve our vision of Staffordshire being a place where vulnerable people are able to live independent and safe lives and where children and young people can get the best start in life.  They are also very innovative and will help put Staffordshire on the map as a place which focuses very clearly on meeting the needs of residents.  Making these changes happen is a big challenge, but I know you are as committed to these aims as I am.

Eric Robinson, Director for People and Deputy Chief Executive is this week’s guest blogger while Nick Bell is on annual leave.

Celebrating long service

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

long service awards

I was delighted to attend the long service awards last Friday. Everyone in the room had worked for Staffordshire County Council, or for other local government employers, for at least 25 years.

 I was really impressed by the enthusiasm in the room, and the event was a real celebration of everyone’s commitment to the county council, to their customers and colleagues. 

As we live in a culture that often appears to celebrate youth over experience, I am proud that we are an organisation that retains valuable staff and puts on such events.

I mentioned that I hosted a Your Voice session a couple of weeks ago.  Since then SLT members have been out and about hosting more sessions, and one clear message coming back is that you want more information. You want to know about how planned changes are going to affect you and you really want your managers to be frank with you about when those changes are going to happen. I am very keen to address these issues. We are continually review the ‘corporate’ information that we put out and also working hard on a new managers’ briefing to help your line managers keep you up to date. You will hear more about this soon.

Cabinet this week gave their approval to a new 24/7 concessionary travel scheme for older residents and a young person’s travel card which let under 19 year olds travel for a £1. In a county as large and rural as ours the importance of public transport can’t be underestimated. Make sure your friends and family watch-out for the new schemes when they are launched in the Spring.

I am off on leave next week so will handover to Eric Robinson, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place, to guest blog in my absence.

In the Hot Seat

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

I’ve been in the spotlight this week, answering many questions that I could not have predicted in advance. On Tuesday I kicked off the latest round of Your Voice sessions with an event in the centre of Stafford. These events give me, and all the Senior Leadership Team, a chance to talk to you directly about where we are up to with our plans, to outline our nine priority outcomes and how we are going to achieve them. I met with 26 people from many different services and their questions covered a whole range of topics, from jobs and restructures, to how we manage the expectations of our customers and how we work smarter with district councils. Thank you to those people for their questions and if you haven’t yet booked, please do take the opportunity. We have booked a third session in Stafford and will continue to arrange events to meet the demand.

I also paid a visit to Brindley Heath Junior school in Kinver where I received a very warm welcome from pupils and staff. I visited at assembly time and was slightly nervous to take the hot seat in front of 220 eager pupils. They wanted to know, amongst other things, what the Chief Executive of Staffordshire County Council actually does, what I would do if I was sacked and what I wanted to be when I was growing up. They also compared me to their favourite pop star. I think my answers (make a difference to a lot of people’s lives, have a holiday, play professional cricket) satisfied them, but I suspect I was a poor substitute for Lady Gaga!