Archive for June, 2011

For our communities

Friday, June 24th, 2011

As so much of my day is spent in meetings in Stafford I try to get out to different parts of the county for a full day at least once a month.  I usually take the opportunity to meet local members and visit county council staff and local community projects.  Last Thursday I had an interesting day in Newcastle.

I spent some time at Loggerheads Library and was really impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff there.  Loggerheads is one of our smaller libraries, and is open for a total of 15 hours a week, but still manages to be a great community resource.  An example of this is the Loggerheads One Stop Shop which is based at the library and run by volunteers.  The group acts as a hub for the local community and among their work, they produce local news bulletins that go out to over 2,500 local households.

In the afternoon I visited Chesterton Vision which is a £4.8m MyPlace Lottery funded Youth Centre expected to be completed January 2012.  I was particularly impressed by the wide involvement of the community in the project.  There is a young people’s advisory group who have been involved in all the major decisions for the project.  We are also planning to bury a time capsule in the foundations where all generations of the community are involved in the contents.  I’m very keen that we get the community more involved in running the centre once it is open.

I finished off my day by visiting Chesterton One Stop Shop which is also community run.  This shop is also run by local volunteers and is in one of the most deprived parts of the county.  

My overall impression of the day was of many local people, working closely with the county council to deliver local services for communities.

From Number 10 to Team Brief

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

I had a really interesting day last Wednesday, with the chance to go to Number 10 Downing Street and talk to one of the Prime Minister’s policy advisers.  I was able to share with him many of the innovative developments we have in Staffordshire, including the way we are transforming our social care services and our services for children and families.  It is also useful to be able to take the opportunity to talk to policy advisers about the role of local government and give them our perspective. 

On Thursday I was in a completely different environment, with a chance to walk on Cannock Chase.  The County Council has a statutory duty to protect the Chase as a member of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership Board and the weather made it a perfect day to get out and meet colleagues and volunteers and learn more about how we do that in practice.

I’m really pleased to announce the start of our new Team Brief process.  Starting this week, all members of the Operational Management Team will receive a brief to share with teams, which will include key messages about the major transformation programmes taking place.  Your line managers are expected to share this with you in the next couple of weeks.  There is also chance for any questions – any that your line manager can’t answer will come back to SLT and we will respond.

This new approach is all in response to your feedback through the Your Voice survey and sessions, so thank you for your feedback and I will be looking closely to see how this helps you feel informed.