Keeping busy in week 2

Start of my second week here at Staffordshire.  First week seemed to fly by, but proved really interesting with lots of new people to meet and things to think about.

One of the key issues I will be grappling with over the next few weeks is how we should operate in the future to make sure we help local communities and individuals to meet their aspirations and improve their quality of life.  We have already made many strides along this path in different areas of the Council, and with our partners, but I believe that there is still more that we can, and should, do to enable everyone in Staffordshire to thrive.  I have kicked off a piece of work to look at how we could do this, and I’ll be really keen to hear ideas from everyone about this as it develops over the next few weeks.

Strong partnerships will be key to this, and I came across a really good example of 22 different organisations working effectively together on Friday when I visited the Civil Contingencies Unit based in the Beaconsfield Fire Station on Friday.  The Unit helps co-ordinate emergency planning and response activities across all councils, PCTs, fire and police across the whole of Staffordshire (including Stoke).  Its one of those services you hope you will never need, but when you do you want people who can respond in a sound, professional way and the Unit demonstrated that to me enormously, despite the fact that they were busy that day dealing with the potential impact of a chemical fire near the Staffordshire border.  They were even busier over the weekend helping to co-ordinate the response to a  fire on Cannock Chase.

Its always great to recognise groups of staff who are doing a fantastic job, and as well as the people in the Civil Contingencies Unit, I wanted to note the achievements of our printing service – a group of staff without whom the Council would be unable to work effectively.  They have shown fantastic dedication and customer service over the last year, and this has been recognised with 2 national awards from the printing sector – huge congratulations to all of them.

I have a busy week ahead of me.  On Tuesday I am visiting some Social Care and Health services with the Corporate Director for that area, Eric Robinson.  I’m really looking forward to talking to some of the front line staff and service users to get their ideas about how we can further improve things. 

I’ll sign off now as I need to meet the County’s Director of Public Health – yet another important aspect of the work we do.  May well be more about this in the next blog, so keep scanning for updates!

 Bye for now


 (PS – hopefully nearly there on the house front with the family!)

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