Weeknotes s01e05

Posted by: Chris Witham - Posted on:

TL:DR; Surprise birthday party, Open Source excitement, filming and lots of walking.

[week ending: 05/02/2021]

The good

A PowerPoint slide with an acrostic agenda that spells surprise.
Fake governance slidedeck

One of my team members turned 21 at the start of this week. Living alone and not being able to meet up with friends didn’t seem like the best way to celebrate the significant milestone. It also seemed like a good opportunity to get the whole Digital Team together and have a proper catchup. The scene was set with a rather dull sounding Digital Assurance Network Governance meeting in the calendar, complete with a surprisingly unobvious acrostic agenda and authentically looking NHS slide deck. We all introduced ourselves one by one to the governance lead, whose name happened to be Polish for “Maximum Surprise”, revealing our happy birthday virtual backgrounds complete with childhood photos provided by our colleagues wonderful mum! It seemed to make the day rather memorable and it was great to spend some time with the whole team together.

I finished some reasearch in Open Source NHS websites this week and published a blog post about the findings. I hoped to start a conversation about Open Source opportunities across the NHS and it has been great to see how many people have already joined in. There is some really great work going on already, albeit a little bit hidden or in pockets. I’m planning to write a follow up next week to highlight some of the great work that’s going on and continue the conversations.

I spent two days training with my substantive team this week. A supplier has recently finished a progressive web app for us and they’re now training my team so we can bring the running in house. It was great to see some of the new technologies that have been implemented and how we might make more of the data solutions going forwards.

We’ve been talking about some processes for my covid deployment project for a few weeks trying to work out all the details. I managed to put a pomodoro session to good work to finish my work week on Thursday evening and got all the thoughts combined into some clear process diagrams we can finalise and confirm next week. It felt like a good way to end a decent 4 day week.

A church chancel with video lights and a camera setup for filming.
Filming at St Ethelbert’s Church, Littledean

I had a day off on Friday. Covid has meant I’ve not taken leave as regularly as I might, poor show, so I’m trying to get some days in sensibily before the end of the year. It was good to spend some time with Rachel photographing products for her Fairtrade Shop. In the afternoon, I started filming service content for our Church Youtube Channel for Lent and Easter. After the positive response at Christmas, I’m really looking forward to another round of pre-recorded videos. Most of our regular events are live on Zoom which works great, but pre-record gives us some additional options.

Sunrise over the River Severn with Littledean in the valley below Cinderford
Sunrise over the River Severn with Littledean in the valley below Cinderford. 25 miles walked this week.

The bad

I’ve not bullet journalled as well this week as previous weeks this year. It’s not been a conscious decision but I think getting distracted by lots of Twitter and Linkedin notifications and exciting discussions about Open Source use in the NHS got in the way. I’m hoping to get back to a more regular practice next week. It certainly makes writing weeknotes easier.

I didn’t manage to make time to complete the recruitment process for review at next week’s Town Council meeting. We’ve got a several weeks until recruitment closes but I want to ensure we have time for proper discussion and input with the full council before we move to shortlisting and interviewing. On reflection, I need to look at some options to delegating and not try to take so many tasks on personally. We’ve got some very talented people and I could better use different skillsets and experiences.

The ugly

Unless you’ve not been on the internet this week, you won’t have missed Handforth Parish Council going viral.


Whilst the Zoom oredeal has sparked some incredibly funny memes and spoofs, it highlights some serious issues. Jackie Weaver did an incredible job of handling a very difficult situation in a toxic environment. There is an intriguing notice on their website and it seems there is a complicated back story. Whatever the story, no one should be treated to that behaviour, ever. It goes to show how far we still have to go with creating compassionate, inclusive organisations and workplaces. Overly entitled men shouting at women about understanding the rules, when they clearly don’t understand them themselves needs stamping out and I hope appropriate action has been taken against the offenders.

I don’t pretend to be perfect, but I do hope this behaviour would never occur in our council or that I would respond quickly to intervene. I hope that people can feel they can speak to me about concerns but I’m going to reflect on how I might be more approachable or discover any blindspots.

Notable conversations

  • I’ve had a couple of great catch ups with my Rosalind Franklin Programme Impact Group this week. It’s just about a year since we finished the programme and there’s been lots of changes in roles and responsibilities. It was great to hear how the programme has impacted everyone and help us through a challenging year.
  • Lots of other great conversations this week but I’ll write those up separately.

Things I’m reading and watching

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