Category Archives: Breakfact Briefing

Let’s Hear It For………………….!

…………………. A couple of weeks back we had the second of our own divisional staff celebration events up at Whitehall House in Cheam. It’s an opportunity for us to take some time out as senior managers and celebrate the great work being down by some of you in the different parts of our division.

So along with the nominees, Jackie, Colin, Nigel, Peter, Claudette and I met for afternoon tea – although I have to admit that the timing around lunch time lent itself more to sandwiches than the scones and cake I’d ordered! Still, even when there are scones for lunch, we still engaged in the old debate about cream, jam and which goes on first!


The nominations that we make for our divisional staff celebration are separate from, and in addition to, the nominations we made for the recent Council Staff Awards, which I mentioned in the last blog update. But I wanted to list everybody who was chosen in a separate post because I think it’s important we give the staff we chose for the celebration tea the recognition that their work deserves. So…….the nominations this time round were:

Nicola Deer – SEN Team – chosen for the immediate impact made since Nicola joined SEN last November. Her work and her attention to detail meant that she passed her probationary period with flying colours

Ann Potter – School Admissions – nominated in part for consistently excellent approach to work and specifically for her work on IT aspects of the service provision, especially the CYPLD website info for admissions


Sheila Cruchley – Inclusion Support Service – chosen by Nigel in recognition of Sheila’s leadership of the Learning Support Service

Louise Roberts – Virtual School – for her long-standing commitment to Looked After Children and their educational outcomes in her role in the Virtual School team


Sarah Duggan – Children’s Centres Manager – for the work Sarah’s done on the Children’s Centre Options and the consultation with parents she has led – and on top of that she’s taken over and improved the performance of one of our centres!

Mandy Dennelly – Families Matter – Part of the success of our Families Matter service has been gathering the information we need to prove we’ve made a difference – Mandy has taken a flexible and determined approach to this and it’s been an integral part of Sutton meeting government targets in full and on schedule this year


Lisa Luff – ISYP – who was nominated for some specific work she’d done in conjunction with the Salvation Army and local businesses in providing vulnerable families with food and gifts at Christmas this year

Julie Montebello – ISYP – who was chosen for the Parenting Plus work she’d done, supporting some of our most vulnerable families at some of the most stressful times in their lives – it was a recognition of Julie’s calmness but also her willingness to go the extra mile.


Brian Duffus – YOT – specifically for his oversight on our very successful YOT Triage and the trips he’s organised as part of our Keep It Out Prevention Programme

Liza Martinez – ISYP/Youth Service – because one of the hardest things to do is balance change with still delivering the best service and Liza has done this effectively to shift the focus at Sutton Youth Centre to be increasingly on outcomes

As ever, I’d like to say thank you and well done to everyone who was nominated. On the day of the celebration tea itself, both Lisa L and Brian were on leave so we’ll make sure we invite them along to the next event! We’ve only done these staff celebration teas twice now but it’s quickly become one of my favourite ways to spend time at work – and that’s nothing to do with the scones or the cake!

Please feel free to leave a comment on the celebration awards this time round – even if it’s only to pass on your congratulations to your colleagues – I know they’d appreciate it(click the little speech bubble image at the topof this post!). Then again if you want to comment and join in on the scone/cream/jam debate that’s fine too!

The next staff celebration will be on May 6th and I will look forward to celebrating more of the great work which you all do for the children and families in the borough. And if you feel a little sorry for me in all this – as I can’t ever be nominated for my own awards, well don’t – as I found a way to get my own slice of reflected glory in celebrating your successes. I use this quote from Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, ‘The Valley Of Fear’ …………….


………..Talent it is then!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Briefings…… buses! – The “3 come along at once” thing!

This is in recognition of this being a breakfast briefing - not connected to fact I'm on a diet!
This is in recognition of this being a breakfast briefing – not connected to fact I’m on a diet!

Monday was the first briefing of the week for all CYPLD staff from DMT – I wasn’t there and Tolis is currently on leave of course but the other Exec Heads were there. Today, at 10:00, it’s the second of those CYPLD briefings at Strawberry Lodge – and I will be there this time so if you are attending I hope to see you there.Yesterday and again on Friday we have service briefings – it was Jackie’s services yesterday and it’s Claudette’s staff on Friday. I’ve got Vanessa typing up the notes from my briefing presentation and when they are ready I’ll get them made available if you want to take a look.

DMT Key Points

Summary of the key things from this week

Legal Service – We got an initial briefing on the shape of the shared

legal service that the Council is setting up with 3 other boroughs. It is hoped to go live on Oct 1st. Between now and then there will be further info for staff and managers

........Although I'm a tad hungry!
……..Although I’m a tad hungry!

CMT Feedback – CMT had been considering the varied approaches to setting “localities” within the borough. Further work will be needed to get greater consistency but we think it is likely to reflect the underlying approach we are taking in CYPLD of aligning localities to a group of Area Committees

Resident Survey – Council will be conducting a short resident survey imminently before the larger MORI poll of resident satisfaction levels with services which will take place in Oct/Nov.

Commissioning Performance Management – In addition to the changes we’ll be bringing in on managing contracts (as mentioned in blog already) we will also be developing a process for recording and reporting on the use of spot purchase arrangements. Not likely to affect most of you but thought you should be aware

........Actually starving is more accurate!
……..Actually starving is more accurate!

Carew Manor – We hope the proposed sponsorship will progress in Sept as planned but have agreed contingency arrangments for governance and leadership just in case there is any delay

Emergency Plan – The Council has a revised “Emergency Response Plan”. The HoS will be checking details in the weeks ahead and we’ll be reviewing it at one of our HoS meetings

All Things Leadership and Management

In recognition of the DMT decisions about Performance Frameworks in Commissioning contracts, here is Performance Management –  according to Dilbert……..!

Any similarity to managers here, especially called Col, is a coincidence!
Any similarity to managers here, especially called Col, is a coincidence!

A “Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water” Update!!!!!

 ………..We are now going into the fourth day of the OfSTED Inspection of our Child Protection and Early Help arrangements. I thought I’d give you all a brief update and let you know what they’ve looked at so far. Most of you will not have had direct contact with OfSTED – and even those who have won’t necessarily know about the other areas they’ve explored so I thought it might help to keep everyone up to speed.

They have visited MASH looking at how that works. They are aware it’s a relatively recent development in Sutton but they spent time talking to managers and staff there, looking at processes and how they’re working so far, and looking through some cases. They have also been to some front line social care teams, again tracking cases and talking to those in the teams. As you’d expect they’ve made a number of queries about cases, processes, documentation and systems every day and we’ve responded to these as and when they’ve arisen.

Yesterday I had some time with them looking at our Early Help offer, what it consists of, the processes we use for referrals and assessments to those interventions, how the Children and Young People’s Resource Panel works and the progress in embedding the effective use of CAF’s in Sutton. They were interested to look in particular at the detail of how the panel operates, how we manage risk, and all aspects of using CAF’s. I don’t have feedback as such but I thought it covered all the areas we’d expected and that we have a good idea of our strengths and our areas for development.

In Sutton Family Centre they looked at cases and supervision arrangements and discussed these with both managers and some of the staff. They also met with a number of service managers across CYPLD yesterday, including Jackie and Claudette and that seems to have been a positive and focused dialogue.

Among a number of things, they’ll be going on to look at how the LSCB is improving, how effective our performance management arrangements are, how we deal with Children Missing Education, our Elective Home Education monitoring for safeguarding purposes, talking to a group of designated teachers for Safeguarding from a sample of schools and they’ll be visiting at least two of our Children’s Centres to talk to staff and to families using services.

I’ll try and do a further update tomorrow before the end of the day so you know what stage we’ve reached at the end of the first week and what they’ll be looking at from Monday.

And Finally………..

………………By nature I’m fairly relaxed so I tend not to get stressed by things like OfSTED – I wouldn’t say I love it (!!), but whether in schools or LA Inspections, I’ve always found it makes me reflect and it’s always challenging. But I like that challenge and responding to it. Nevertheless it’s always there in the back of my mind while the inspection is going on and I guess that’s true of most of us. So I noticed the change in my mood as I arrived at the Grove this morning. It might not be the most practical place I’ve ever worked but it’s definitely the most beautiful! Early morning sunshine, the remains of the early morning mist on the ponds, sunlight filtering through the tress and dappling on the water in the streams and the squirrels greeting me as usual (they eat about 50% of my morning croissant every day!). It made me feel quite chilled and relaxed – then I got to my desk, opened up Outlook to a plethora of e-mails and task reminders, and then finished that off by recalling that my family have got me on a diet and it’s more berries and grass for lunch – can’t wait! I’m now not quite so chilled and I think I’ll go back out and see if I can get my illicit croissant bits back from those squirrels!

And Finally And Finally…..

………My thanks to those of you who have already been involved providing information to me and to OfSTED, talking to Inspectors and discussing cases with them. I appreciate the support and willingness to contribute that you’ve all shown.