Chris Witham

Weeknotes s01e18

Posted by: Chris Witham - Posted on:

TL:DR; Community is so important and I wish poor pitches were as easy to get rid of as fireplaces.

[week ending: 07/05/2021]

The good

This four day week has been packed but still felt productive and I’ve been energised through a lot of the projects I’ve been working on. I’ve had a strong link with and spent quite a bit of time on community stuff this week and I really love it. I’m really excited about some of the things I’m working on across our town and district currently.

The bank holiday weekend, albeit a complete wash out did allow me to start DIY on our dining room and rip out the fireplace that I wanted to remove 30 seconds after we bought the house 9 years ago! Expect photos of tools, mess and me looking puzzled over the next week or so if you look at my Twitter profile!

At Cinderford Town Council, we had our annual parish meeting and annual meeting this week. Pushed back by Covid and brought forwards a week to dodge the removal of the temporary legislation that’s allowed us to meet online. Zoom has worked incredibly well for us as a council and I’m sad that the Government hasn’t extended provisions to enable online or hybrid meetings to continue. It also seems odd that we’ll have a full council meeting in person before parliament all sit together. It was good to give my Chairman’s report for the year and review all the progress we’ve made despite the lockdowns. It was also pleasing to highlight all the ways our community has pulled together and suppoorted one another. I was re-elected as Chairman and I’m looking forward to continuing to deliver many of the big plans we’ve put into action.

Lots of Governor work this week too as we prepare for next week’s Council of Governors. I had my 1:1 with Ingrid our Chair and we talked about the recent royal visit and developments in the Integrated Care System (ICS). We had a really great meeting with our staff governors and talked a lot about how they can engage with the role. We’ve got some really committed people who are eager to ensure our organisation is the best it can be. I finished out the week by reviewing the new Govneror Dashboard we’re developing which I think will really help us thinking about assurance and ensure we focus on the right things. There seems to be a lot of good things possible within the ICS but I’m still unsure about governance and how we get citizen engagement and assurance so this will need some research and exploration.

I’ve had some 1:1s with my team this week and we’ve been talking about individual work and development plans for the year. Reviewing some of our plans from last year, it’s impressive how much got done despite the bumpy road. We seem to have a lot of paperwork currently. It might be appropriate and I think there is good intent behind it all but I’m keen to ensure that what we put effort into serves a purpose and has outcomes. Something to reflect on.

The bad

I’ve been in a few pitches from potential suppliers recently. I see a lot of things being badged as “AI” (artificial intelligence) when they’re really not. Some project teams are really excited and encouraged by these promises and I’m glad when I can ask the right questions to understand what exactly is on offer. Whilst it’s good that I take fill this role, it has got me thinking about how we can share some digital knowledge more widely so other people can spot when things aren’t as shiny and gold as promised. Any pointers to good resources would be gratefully received. Also, the NHS has plenty of data capture solutions, we really don’t need anyone else pitching us something that essentially replicates MS Forms and Excel!

Trees frame a sunny green landscape in the Forest of Dean.
Some beautiful weather in the forest this week. Only 7 miles walking and no riding this week. Lots of DIY for exercise though.

The ugly

Across our church deanery we’re writing a strategic plan and I’ve spotted some behaviours that I exhibited the last time I went through an NHS restructure. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not particularly good at being led through change or coping with change. Talking to some colleagues there some useful connections to justice and ensuring people are cared for through change, but I think it sometimes goes too far and I can get obstructive or combative. Definitely something I want to work on. I don’t think it’s anti-change, I just want the change to be done right with rigour and consideration. Maybe.

Noteable conversations

  • We had a lessons learned session this week for my Covid response secondment. So much to celebrate and lots of ideas to make things even better next time round. The challenge will be holding onto this and ensuring the good stuff gets embedded into the organisation, especially as many of us were seconded or borrowed from elsewhere.

Things I’m reading and watching

  • #AllDayHey – Due to back to back Teams calls (the worst) I didn’t get to watch much of All Day Hey, but I’m definitely going to watch the talks in the coming week. It was great to join in with the crowd online. It’s such a well organised and welcoming conference and incredibly good value for money. Harry and Josh really do a great job, check it out. You might also want to watch my Lightening Talk from a few years ago.
  • Line of Duty – we’d saved it all for the final weekend, Rachel was worried there would be too much suspense to wait a week! I really enjoyed it. Never mind the naysayers on social media.

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