Members, Metal and Morale!………


Intriguing title eh? What does it mean I hear you ponder? Well – nothing really! I couldn’t think of a more relevant title so instead I just plucked three things I referred to that all begin with the same letter – I wonder if John Steinbeck did the same when he wrote “Of Mice and Men”…..? Anyway, updates

Member Visits

The lead members, Councillor Callaghan and Councillor Mathys are visiting a number of front line teams over the next few weeks. They paid a visit to the school improvement staff based at Chaucer a couple of weeks ago after a Primary Headteachers briefing that was held there and they are due to visit the Joint Adolescent Service imminently. They have also been to a number of the front line Child Protection and Looked After Children teams in recent weeks. It’s a good opportunity for them to get to know a little bit more about what happen in front line services and also gives members of staff a chance to get to know them a little and to share their thoughts and perceptions with them. If there are any issues that arise that need to be actioned for us from these visits I’ll let the relevant Heads of Service know.

The Head Of Service meetings weren't always comfortable meetings - but if a job's worth doing........!
The Head Of Service meetings weren’t always comfortable meetings – but if a job’s worth doing……..!

Heads Of Service Meeting

We get together fairly frequently. It gives me a chance to update Claudette, Nigel and Jackie as well as giving us a chance to work collectively on things which affect all of us to some extent or other. When we met last Friday, we looked at budgets, redesign, and communicating and engaging with staff.

The budgets for next year have now been drafted by the budget holders. I’ve been through all of them and they are good to go and be approved. The advantage this gives us is that budget holders are now able to decide for themselves where the funds they have available need to go – so this should make budgets much easier to manage and monitor next year. Of course, having set up the budgets themselves, managers will need to make sure their budgets remain on track throughout next year – there may of course be unforeseen pressures, but these should be few and far between, and where they do seem to appear we’ll be able to scrutinise the problem in detail so that we can respond accordingly.

We went back through the emerging project plan for the CYPLD re-design. We’ve just taken a paper to DMT about the way in which the changes within education nationally will impact on redesign and we considered that further. The locality based model will be at the heart of redesign. We had some high-level discussions, clarifying that as the next couple of months progress, we will need to begin to consider collectively, and with you, which of our service provisions might be suited to delivery within a locality framework and which might be better delivered through a central model or indeed a different mechanism. We also discussed the issue of the number of localities – for example there are six area committees within the political structure, five clusters for Children’s Centre’s and five clusters for the Primary Schools. Our emerging view at HoS meetings is that too many “localities” runs the risk of diluting resources too much – ultimately though it will need to be determined by a thorough and detailed assessment of locality characteristics and needs.

Engaging with staff at any time is important – but as we are on the cusp of major change with redesign and in the context of the recent Safeguarding OfSTED, it’s perhaps more important now than ever. Consequently we agreed that I’ll try and blog and tweet as often as possible to keep up that flow – equally we’ll look at how we use communications to get a two-way dialogue. We see a benefit in the ability to comment on the blog – if you do leave a comment I will respond. But we agreed that face to face is vital. Consequently I’ll arrange a series of staff briefings for you to attend and I’ll do these every term. I plan to hold them at the Life Centre in Sutton initially. I’ll offer a choice of dates as I know you are busy and your diaries will be pretty manic. Equally though id like you to attend for one of the briefings if you possibly can. I hope to get the dates out in the next few days

Sometimes It’s Not What You Know, But Who You Know!

Although I have an interest in blogging (as I’ve been doing my own personal blog for about a year), I’m still at a very basic level of skill! (To say the least!).

 I got some help and advice this week from Louise Yardley, who is one of our youth service staff. Louise runs the youth service blog and associated social networks -like their Twitter feed and Facebook page. Louise taught me more in an hour than I’ve taught myself in a year! You don’t realise how basic you are and how little you know till you get help from people like Louise!!! I must have said “I wish I’d known how to do that when i started” a hundred times at least!

Thanks to Louise I will make a number of changes to both my work blog (and my personal blog). If you’re not already familiar with the ISYP blog, you can find it at They are also on Twitter @SuttonYouth (mind you they have four hundred followers – I have, ahem, well……….four!) As well as working on blogs we also discussed music – Louise is a fan of ‘metal’. Not my thing – I’m more ‘indie rock’. The nearest I’ve ever got to metal was watching Motörhead at a festival years ago – my hair was long enough then to fit in. Now I know I’m too staid, too old, and too grey! However, to encourage you to interact, please let me know, through the comments, the “closest” you’ve ever come to listening to “metal” – and if you say “Andy Stewart” then I’ll know you are really my Dad posing on this blog as a member of staff!

Directorate Management Team

We spent the largest part of the last DMT, on 4th Feb, finalising the detail on the project plans for the redesign. We also however agreed some high level principles for developing an approach to working with primary schools, in what’s known as the “middle tier”. This essentially develops a different way of collaborating with schools on school improvement activities, recognising the increasing autonomy of the schools, the increasing requirements from government to shift funding from centrally managed to school managed and the key role for the LA in supporting collaborative working arrangements between schools.

We’ll now work further with the schools and within our own school improvement service to put the detail into this work in the months ahead.

Management Words Speak Louder Than Actions

I share this, for no other reason than I think it is funny! If you’ve never seen Dilbert cartoons, they are hilarious – well I think they’re hilarious. I see myself in them frequently – it makes me cringe but also makes me laugh at the same time!


It Speaks For Itself - Not Me - But Itself!
It Speaks For Itself – Not Me – But Itself!

And Finally………….

……………When I left for work Monday it was snowing. I took a coat from the wardrobe, grabbed a scarf and gloves, hefted my bag on my shoulder and got in my car to drive to the Tube Station. It was only then did I realise that I’d come out with the coat hanger in my hand – my coat had been thrown onto the bed!

Consider this, carefully and sympathetically, and then if you don’t mind, take 5 seconds to respond to the poll !

Have a good day!

Don’t Forget – feel free to leave comments on any of these issues and leave a comment on the closest you’ve ever come to listening to ‘metal’. In addition, to reduce the dependence on managers sending round the link to the blog, clck the follow button to the side – that way you’ll get an automatic e-mail every time a new post is published. And if you want to follow my work Twitter I’m @EdnEarl.


9 thoughts on “Members, Metal and Morale!………”

  1. Great blog (and not just because it mentions me!). I will have a brand new header image for you very soon – I’m hoping to have some time to work on this tomorrow 🙂

    The SuttonYouth twitter account has now reached 497 followers and we’re hoping to reach 500 by the end of the week. Anyone want to follow us??

    What’s the closest I’ve come to Metal? I AM METAL! 😉
    … and I’m already counting down the days until my annual holiday to Bloodstock Festival…. which is in August.

    1. The Twitter numbers are great for you – about 100 in a day – I am increasing my followers by about 1 a month – and most of them are relatives!
      I’d not heard of Bloodstock Festival before – I might have come across it and simply assumed its about the NHS Transfusion Service rather than music! Enjoy. For me it’ll be a ‘dad’ rock summer of Latitude and Bestival I think!

  2. Maybe not the classics (although I have seen Motorhead too), but for me System of a Down are incredible live, and I’m showing my age by saying Marylin Manson puts on one hell of a stage show.

    Oh, and great to see this blog – always interesting to hear about these sorts of developments, I’ll definitely be checking back regularly!

    1. Glen. Thanks for stopping by – and for feedback. Marilyn Manson eh? If that gives your age away I wouldn’t worry – I’m a man who is old enough to have seen The Ramones when they started! As for System Of A Down – I once heard them on NME Radio I think – bit loud for me these days!

  3. Hi, great idea looking forward to up-dates!

    Regarding “metal”, not a fan, that probably shows my age, but I had to endure a concert of Metalcore, my son was the drummer of Lower Your Guard a local band, this link will give you some idea of why I used the term “endure”, the things parents have to do!!

    1. Wow! Metalcore! You are out there at the cutting edge of metal – with my sympathy! Still I used to be in ‘The Thundering Gods Of Tharg!’ and look at me now!!!!!!!! If ‘Loweryourguard!’ have any tacks they want to share am happy to publish them on blog for other staff to enjoy/share your pain! At least Louise in the Youth Service will probably like it?!?!

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