From: First Team
Sent: 16 December 2011 14:35
Subject: Weekly message from the Chief Executive
It probably was tempting fate to mention the excellent rating status our Children's Service has achieved in last week's email. Well you certainly don't get the chance to say that other departments are officially excellent, like say Procurement, so you can have this odd one.
The first email I received on Monday morning was from OFSTED confirming dates for a Children's Service inspection, which begins on 9 January. What a pity that OFSTED inspections are not unannounced so we get to see the unsanitized picture.
There is now an enormous amount of preparation required ahead of the start date, which means pretty short Christmas breaks for some staff. Diddums; the Police, Fire and Ambulance workers, social workers, care home assistants etc etc will be working throughout. Bloggers won't stop either! The rest of us need to now get behind the Children's Service Team and support them as they prepare for their January dates.
On Tuesday morning the council's Corporate Management Group (CMG) met and there were some understandable Children's Service absences, given the news above. Mr Mustard comes therefore to the conclusion that the CMG meetings can't be all that important if they can be missed. CMG is the meeting of our top 100 or so managers and on Tuesday we spent some time discussing experiences of the new Performance Review process. 100 managers sitting around talking - that might be what is wrong with the council? too many managers. At these times of scarce resources it's vital we are all able to demonstrate our value. 100 people sitting around does not demonstrate value. A headcount of 462 managers is ridiculous. The Performance Review process is the council's way of every member of staff being able to document this. I'd welcome staff feedback on the new process, what's worked and what could be improved.
A quick word to all those who helped get services back up and running very quickly following NLBP's power cut on Thursday. I am sure many of those who were involved in the East Barnet power cut two years ago will have had a 'not again' moment, as temperatures dropped and the power went out. If the council is so vital perhaps there should be a back-up generator. I hope we and our residents don't face a Christmas like that again, but we are now better prepared for cold weather than previously. We have a full salt barn, new gritters and everyone should also take a look and think how they can get involved in the 'Keep well this winter campaign' which the council is running this year. Like kids with new toys. You keep on firing the new lorries up because of it being a bit cold but not actually snowy or icy.
As in previous years, whatever the weather, it's important that as many staff as possible get into work to keep services running. The council will run minibuses from the major public transport locations in the borough to Barnet House and NLBP to support staff in doing this. We will use the website and Intranet to update. If more local staff were employed, instead of consultants from the south coast to Peterborough, this wouldn't be a problem; they would be able to walk in. What about the poor parking staff who have to get to East Croydon. Are you laying minibuses on for them?
Let's hope we don't need any of this and have nothing more than a little snow on Christmas Day and not the big freeze of the past two years. Hope is all you can do.