Posts Tagged ‘awards’

Clothes Swap, and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

For this week’s blog, I wanted to remind everyone about the Waste Team’s brilliant ‘Clothes Swap’ taking place in SP1 today. We throw away so many clothes these days, when many can be reused or recycled. This clothes swap is an excellent way to recycle your old or unwanted clothes, and will help us to think more carefully about what we throw away in future.

For more information and to get involved in this and future swaps, click here.

It was a pleasure to attend the awards ceremony for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Conversion Rates Experts, a small and highly international digital company which is based in the unlikely setting of a country house in Rugeley.  Most of the employees were there, gathering for their one day a year when they meet face to face.  The rest of the year they work from their homes designing and optimising some of the most world’s biggest companies’ websites.  As well as sharing in their celebration, I learned more about Smart Working from a company that really makes it happen.  They have developed techniques and tools which build the ethos of the company, but the key is getting the culture right, which came as no surprise to me.  In an industry where people move very quickly, they have built up an amazing loyalty.  I’m hoping that Ben Jesson will come to one of our future Senior Managers’ Conferences to explain not only what a successful digital business in Staffordshire needs from its county council, but also perhaps share some tips on the next steps for us in Smart Working.

On a completely different subject, and testament to how varied this job is, I returned to the office to present the Health and Care Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) Estates Strategy to senior NHS officials.  Last year, we were disappointed to receive an “Improving” grade for our work, but we listened to the feedback, and this year it looks like we will be heading into “Good” territory.  This is testament to the efforts of a large number of people, but if I can single out 3 for particular praise, it would Wendy Woodward, Becky Jones and Phil Brenner.  The Estates Strategy will not in and of itself makes the transformation that community care needs in Staffordshire and Stoke, but it will enable many of the changes that need to be made, and support the new workforce model, as well as integration of health and care, and the digital offer. 

#DoingOurBit, awards and helping our care leavers

Friday, June 28th, 2019

The #DoingOurBit campaign has got going very strongly.  Perhaps not at all surprisingly, many colleagues have come forward with the things that they are already doing within their communities and neighbourhoods.  You’ll see some examples on the “splash” page as you log on every day, and they are inspirational.  If you want to know more, you can read about them here.

Our Highways Department has been highly commended at last night’s MJ Awards for their Infrastructure Plus (I-Plus) contract with Amey.  This innovative approach to working with a major construction company has resulted in better results at lower costs.  Of course, there is always more to do, and the truth is that, in a perfect world, we would spend more money on Staffordshire’s roads, but this commendation is more reinforcement that we are getting good value for taxpayers’ money. 

Castle House, the public sector hub in Newcastle-under-Lyme was also short-listed under the infrastructure category.   This new building brings together the borough council’s and all of the county services delivered in Newcastle, along with the housing association and police.  It really is a one-stop shop, and proves that structural reorganisation is not always the answer; one can achieve many of the same results with the right culture and working environment. 

Lastly, it was a great pleasure to hear that our major IT supplier, Specialist Computer Supplies, have offered to give a laptop to each one of our care-leavers who go onto university.  One of the most pleasing aspects about this job is the manner in which Staffordshire County Council really do take the corporate parenting responsibilities for the children in our care seriously.  It is therefore especially pleasing to see our long-term suppliers helping us out in this endeavour.

Congratulations to Matt Biggs, and an update on Network Staffordshire

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

I couldn’t begin this week’s entry with any other subject than to congratulate Matt Biggs on being recognised at a national level as local government’s Rising Star of the Year.  This was the first year of this prize, which was presented at the MJ Achievement Awards on Wednesday in London; in the words of the Right Honourable Alan Johnson, this is the prize to which people will aspire in coming years.  Regular readers will remember my mentioning Matt’s excellent leadership of the 30 hour childcare pilot, in which he multiplied the positive effect of this initiative with the simple, yet highly effective, coordination of employers as well as parents and providers – a simple idea to explain, harder in practice, and beautifully executed by Matt and his team.

We had a very useful meeting this week of Network Staffordshire to take stock and work out where next.  Again, regular readers will remember that the Network was an effort to re-energise the Staffordshire Strategic Partnership and brings together leaders from councils, the wider public sector, business, the voluntary sector and our universities.  It’s worked very well, and has spawned the Smart Staffordshire initiative, which crosses public and private sector boundaries, and is ready to float off under its own steam (if that’s not too old-fashioned a metaphor for a digital initiative!). In a nutshell, this project is about putting all the elements in place to help residents and business thrive in the digital age. Having agreed this, we considered several options, and decided to work towards the county’s Industrial Strategy.  This will be a focussed version of the national strategy, and will be hugely relevant after Brexit, when, for example, funding for development, infrastructure and research will be controlled from Westminster rather than Brussels.  The local Industrial Strategy will, we understand, be the key document in terms of making the decisions on where the funding will go.  That means that Staffordshire’s has to jump out compared with the others – the active participation of all members of Network Staffordshire will help to make that happen.