“There May Be Trouble Ahead….And It’ll Need More Than Moonlight And Love and Romance To Recover……….

…………But before anybody gets concerned, the trouble ahead is the England v Scotland football at Wembley tomorrow. At home and with family I’m full of optimism, hope, belief. If I’ve said “I think Scotland will surprise you!” once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Alas no matter how often I say it, I know in my heart we’ve no chance! While I’ve been spouting that upbeat rhetoric for weeks out loud, in my head all I can hear is the voice of Private Fraser from Dads Army “We’re doomed! Doomed I tell you!”. (At last I know what it feels like to be a QPR fan!) So please be gentle with me if we meet any time from Thursday morning onwards!!!!!
There is fortunately an antidote for me to those feelings of depression and suffering that follow a defeat by England at football, rugby, anything. This does it for me every time!!!!!

If Only William Wallace Still Played For Scotland!!
If Only William Wallace Still Played For Scotland!!

Sponsored Academy Developments
Work on the proposed conversions of Carew Manor and Camden Juniors have been continuing during the summer. The legal and financial work for Carew is almost complete, and subject to Secretary of State decision, it is still on track for converting on September 1st. We received the external agency report for the Camden consultation at the end of last week. Response rates were very high at almost 550, and almost 98% of those respondents were in favour of Greenshaw becoming the school sponsor rather than the Harris Federation as the DfE would prefer. The rest of the consultation feedback is similarly in favour of the Greenshaw option. This is certainly validation of the local communities view. It’s been supported by letters from elected members, local MP’s and Tolis, all sent to the minister, Lord Nash, who will make the decision. We hope that this will help secure a decision in favour of the local solution, but to be honest I’ve no way of knowing how much, if any, notice will be taken of local views and the consultation outcomes. I guess it’s just a “wait and see”. We’re expecting a decision on Camden this week one way or another.

At a previous DMT we agreed a new approach to recording short notice urgent contracts in CYPLD. These are often used for urgent placements for children, particularly in social care. The new approach will need to be used for any spot purchasing arrangements managers in our division make when there is no formal contractual arrangement in place.
At yesterday’s DMT we focused on the overall CYPLD budget and in particular how to approach the cost implications of some of the changes in social care, like the new Public Law changes and to also plan out where we may need additional funding in the future. We also agreed to use an extended DMT day on September 20th to work further on the longer term detailed implementation of the redesign in Children’s Services.

Divisional Budget
At the end of Month 3 our divisional budgets are generally on line. There are some small predicted under spends in a few budgets but these balance out a couple of areas of slight over spends. We have also identified a significant proportion of our contribution to the overall CYPLD budget savings for Smarter Sutton and we will be finalising these in the next few weeks. However,we know that improving our budget management is an integral part of ensuring we make efficient and maximum use of the resources available to us. So, we will also be running a series of workshops for Education and Early Intervention budget holders, which will be be delivered by Nia Lewis, Jacky Bulbrook, Sarah Alderman and I. We’ll focus on budget reports, adding monitoring commentaries and respond to queries. All our budget managers will be required to attend the short workshops so we will plan them for the Autumn and offer a variety of dates so that we can be as flexible as possible.

And the moral of the story is....Leaving booking your summer hols till the last minute might just mean you end up wearing a furry waistcoat!
And the moral of the story is….Leaving booking your summer hols till the last minute might just mean you end up wearing a furry waistcoat!

That Cliff Richard Feeling!

As in, we’re all going on a summer holiday!!!! The schools are of course on summer break. Theoretically it’s supposed to make work quieter but that’s not how it looks at my end and I’d reckon that’s not how it looks to any of you either!!! There are of course lots of you off at some point on leave. Personally, I’m off to Rhodes for a few days from August 26th. In my absence Claudette will be the Head of Service covering for me. I’m due back, ideally with a golden brown hue, though more likely to be a bright-red glow, on September 5th!!!!! If you are taking leave yourself over the summer, enjoy it!

Performance Management
I know most of you will either have recently completed or be in the process of finishing off appraisals. These should be on the system now and managers should have signed off – so if you’ve not completed it please do so as a matter of real urgency.
For Children in Need monitoring Jackie and I finished drafting up the data on CIN that we will use on performance a couple of weeks ago. The Research and Intelligence unit is working up the reports for us on the dataset we have drafted. R and I are also working up changes to the monthly performance report to DMT. Up till now it’s understandably focused largely on the social care data set but going forward we will be including more of the key data from education and early intervention and prevention services.

The last Children’s Services Improvement Board included a summary paper on the Sutton population profile based on the last census return. It’s an interesting and easy read and may be of use for managers as part of your planning for service delivery. I’ve posted it on the ISYP Intranet and there are details of how to access it below. Among the things which the next Improvement Board will focus on will be a report from us on the performance of the Youth Offending team in Sutton.


Wildfire Burgers!

The annual JAS Barbeque took place last Wednesday and was a great success, attended by 10 families known to the service – all of the food went like wildfire! There was an egg and spoon race, Hoola Hoops, Giant Snakes and Ladders, Giant Connect 4 to name but a few of the games and Nail Painting in the marquee. In addition, a number of young people contributed to a wall mural “What’s JAS about”, which offered some interesting reflections. All of the team who were present took part in what was a most enjoyable afternoon.

New Faces in CYPLD
Jonathan Williams started as the Head of Service for Quality Assurance in Sharman’s Division last Monday and Richard Nash started as the new Exec Head for Safeguarding on the Tuesday, replacing Ann Goldsmith who after the handover to Richard, will be leaving Sutton at the end of this month. I’ve met both of them this week as part of their induction and I’ve no doubt you’ll all get to meet them in due course.

Staff Survey Response Plan
I will very shortly be asking for nominations and volunteers to host me doing back to the floor sessions. I’ve asked the Heads of Service to nominate one from each of their areas and for the others I will be asking for volunteers. I will also be writing to you in the next couple of weeks looking for volunteers to join a divisional staff sounding board with me.

And Finally………………

One of my favourite tracks at the moment in “Tongue Tied” by GroupLove. Now this might be another of those you think you’ve never heard of – but I know you have – for it’s the track for the current “Coke” adverts! As well as going around singing “Take me to your best friend now, I loved you then I loved now, oh oh yeah!”, I also spend time desperately looking for a “Share a Coke With….” can / bottle with my daughters name – so far to no avail! So if you are out and you see a “Share a Coke (or Diet Coke) with Frankie (or Francesca) can you please, please, please, buy it for me, let me know and I’ll re-imburse you! And in advance of my thanks, here’s a quick burst of Tongue Tied!!!!

And Finally, And Finally……..
………………………In the past I’ve commented in these blogs on the strange and unusual sights I come across in my daily commute. Today though I want to share the joys of the new platform announcer who frequently does evening rush hour on the Victoria Line. He’s got this fabulous West Indian accent, a real warm, deep, rich lilt in his voice. This is how he greeted us last night. “Hello you beautiful sunshine people. Take it easy on the platform. Just relax, slow it down and smile at the other passengers. And good news today is that Christine Ohorugu won the 400m at the Athletics. She smashed it up man!”. The train pulls in and he sees us off with ” Respect and One Love to all of you tonight! Be good to one another!! Mr Driver, Take these lovely people where they want to go!!! !”. And I swear the whole sardine-style rammed carriage is smiling. I’ve no idea if this is TFL policy – but it should be.
Respect and One Love to you for the rest of the working week!!!!


2 thoughts on ““There May Be Trouble Ahead….And It’ll Need More Than Moonlight And Love and Romance To Recover……….”

  1. Just to confirm you aren’t mad. A few months ago you said that when on the train, Battersea smelled of toast. My boss travels that way and agrees. I was then listening th Heart fm on the way home the other day and they were doing a phone in about it (although the presenters said it was when coming into London Bridge Station.)

    1. Neil. The sanity reassurance is much appreciated. I’d not noticed it for a few weeks but a couple of days ago it was back. mind you, if the toast aroma is sometimes over at London Bridge may there’s a giant mobile toaster being wheeled around the city!

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