Lots going on in August

With many of our colleagues enjoying some well-earned rest and recuperation, one might expect that life back in SCC would be quieter.  But there is still a lot going on, and I thought that it might be useful to signal some of the more significant activities that affect us all in this blog entry.

We are working closely with a number of external partners on the digital agenda, and I would ask that you take a bit of time to work out where you fit in to these activities, and engage with them as appropriate.  Firstly, we are well into the implementation of Office 365, the latest version of Microsoft Office.  Risual, a Stafford-based software development company are working closely and very well with us across the organisation, to ensure that we get the maximum benefit from this new package.  There are new tools and techniques that we will be using to take us to the next stage in our Smart Working journey.  Have a look at the new package, have a chat with the Change Champion in your area, and think about how you could use this.  For example, is there an another way of holding meetings, rather than face to face, using Teams and Skype?  If you’ve got a good idea, make sure that we hear about it – if you’re not sure to whom to send it, send it to me.

Secondly, we have digital specialists Rainmaker assisting us with identifying and landing digital projects, particularly in the adult social care area.  We have carefully selected them for their record of practical achievement in other local authorities, government departments and private sector businesses, but we must engage with them closely and keep us all focused on delivery.  There is always a temptation for this type of work to default towards working in the strategic sphere, as it is more enjoyable and has more freedom – painting on clouds as a General for whom I once worked put it rather dismissively – but the hard part is making things work in the real world.  We’ve got a good strategy which we’ve worked hard to produce over the past year; now we need to make the jump to the tactics and the delivery.

Thirdly among a large number of other projects, I would highlight the progress towards the Workforce Strategy.  I have been hearing very positive reports from people who have been taking part in the sessions with Sue Evans and our own team from HR.  We will have a first draft coming together in next few weeks, with a view to taking it to Cabinet in October for formal approval.  This is quite rapid progress, and I’m really pleased with it.  Many thanks to all of you who have given your time to ensure that we hear your views, as the important thing with this project is that we collectively feel a sense of ownership.  It is, after all, the basis on which we and our successors will operate as colleagues to support the residents of Staffordshire.

Lastly, if you are planning a holiday in the coming weeks, I hope that you, your family and friends have a relaxing break.

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