Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest (Or At Least Most Frequent!) Word……

……….That’s not so much an attempt to start an Elton John karaoke but more a recognition that I’ve not been providing any updates in the last few weeks. I could tell you I’m snowed under – but that’s no excuse as you are all busy too! So my apologies – I’ll try and get better. Keep the faith with my communuication so that I don’t end up reverting to “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me!” – and that’s enough Elton for one day!

Divisional Staff Briefings
My thanks to those of you who came along. I’m grateful for participation and feedback. It was good for me to get the chance to talk with so many of you. If you were at the briefings, I’d welcome any feedback from you or any suggestions for future briefings through the comments ( or of course you can always email me directly) The briefings were a useful way for me to share the feedback on our division from the staff survey. I will include your suggestions in the plan we’re developing as a response to the results of that survey. I will finalise it with Nigel, Jackie and Claudette in the next few weeks and then send it out to you through the blog. For those of you who couldn’t make one of the sessions, the presentation slides are below in case you want to look over them. We will finalise dates for the next set of divisional briefings, which will take place before summer, and get those out to you ASAP.

Picture representing an Exec Head's Easter - the name on the passport matches the ticket!!!!!!!!
Picture representing an Exec Head’s Easter – the name on the passport matches the ticket!!!!!!!!

The Holiday That Was – But Nearly Wasn’t!
Those of you who were at the last staff briefing on the Tuesday before Easter already know a bit of my holiday saga as I found out that day that I’d spelt my partners name wrongly when booking so the ticket name and passport didn’t match! I did eventually get to Malaysia and Thailand but not when I’d hoped nor in the way I’d hoped! However I did get there –

A picture representing a Head of School Improvement's Easter - not easy being a QPR fan!
A picture representing a Head of School Improvement’s Easter – not easy being a QPR fan!

albeit with a couple of “via here and there” and 2 days late! Luckily it was great – made up for the stress and nightmare I created for my poor family before I left! Whatever you did over Easter I hope you got chance to relax and enjoy some time off – even those of you who are QPR fans!

DCS Briefings
In line with the old buses cliche, you wait for a briefing and then several come at once! The week before last saw the next set of Directors Briefings to staff. I saw many of you  over the course of the two sessions and I’ve gathered in feedback from a range of different people. There are some further aspects that I’ll update you on in due course – I’ll also follow up on several things when I meet together with you next. It will certainly form a part of the next Divisional Staff Briefings that I referred to earlier and that I’m currently arranging. I am aware that for some of you the sessions didn’t necessarily give you the answers or clarity that you sought and that in some cases you reported back the need to look at some aspects in more depth and detail. I’ll make sure I build all of that into our next sessions together

DMT Feedback
We had DMT meet last week. We reviewed the emerging budget position for CYPLD for the last financial year and this looks relatively positive. Overall there is likely to be a small underspend for the Directorate, with small overspends in Children’s Social Care balanced out by small underspends in our division and in Planning and Commissioning. We had two papers in. A new policy for Family Group Conferencing had been drafted with Jackie’s service and this was agreed subject to a couple of very minor changes. Claudette and the YOY management had prepared an assessment of how our YOT is placed for new changes to the Inspection Frameworks within the Youth Justice System. The report is encouraging about our readiness and was very positively received by DMT. The other key topic at the meeting was a draft evaluation report of position in Sutton with ‘runaways’ and we agreed feedback to report author. Will let you know key messages from evaluation in due course once final version is ready. We also had an update on the Peer Review of Safeguarding and LAC arrangements which is required at this stage of our response to the Improvement Notice. It will be led by the DCS and some of senior staff at Wandsworth. Again I’ll update you on details when they are finalised.

And Finally……….
Did you know that a 50 year old man can be at the very cutting edge of everything that’s cool and trendy? You didn’t????! …..

Then you need to come and live in my world (admittedly it’s the only place where this rare situation of the cool and trendy man of fifty occurs!!!!!). At the weekend I went to see Two Door Cinema Club at Alexandra Palace. Apart from being the oldest person at the gig by say…..20 years……I loved it. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. And just in case you are thinking “I could never be as cutting edge as he is”, for those of you who think you’ve never heard Two Door Cinema Club and have never been tempted to sing along with them, try watching this advert that I think most of you will recognise – and then discover you’re all Two Door Cinema Club fans too!

And Finally Finally…….
Having survived the fiasco of our most recent family holiday and having had to come back after only 2 days of our last family holiday in Egypt leaving my partner and daughter on their own for the duration, I wondered if anybody is interested in organising my families hoildays from now – my partner and my daughter are praying someone will come forward, take pity on them and volunteer – they’ve already made it clear that if I’m organising our next family holiday they won’t go! Applicants please let me know through the comments………………………!