Category Archives: Chatter

Unsquashing A Rumour And Unringing A Bell!

Somebody once said “Trying to unsquash a rumour is like trying to unring a bell!”

Well I’m about to try and do it anyway! A number of you may be aware of the story below which appeared this week in the Guardian and which suggested a considerable number of managers are all leaving the Council, including myself.


I know that some of you have enquired whether or not this story is correct so I’ve decided to try and clarify for all of you at the same time. The story is incorrect. I think it is based on the journalist’s interpretation of what technically happens when jobs are merged. Where there are two job descriptions combined, technically, the old separate job descriptions no longer exist. So in this case once the JD’s for my current role and the other Exec Head role in CYPLD are merged, technically my post ceases to exist. It doesn’t however automatically follow that I will be leaving.  In the weeks ahead, the Council will go through due process to decide how they appoint to that merged job description and to any other positions where the job description has been changed. Once that is complete I will let you know.

But in the interim I wanted to clarify that in the light of the press story. I have no plans to go anywhere and at the moment I am focused as you would expect on our priorities, and of course on getting to know the newer areas of CYPLD which have been integrated into our division following the letter about staff changes which you will all have received from Tolis earlier this week!

I won’t tempt fate by assuming the questions were prompted by concern that I might be moving on (!!) and saying that my intention is to “reassure” all of you – but I hope it at least clarifies things and puts the press story into context for you.

So to paraphrase Mark Twain, “Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!”


The Long Awaited, Much Heralded, Oft Referenced, Highly Anticipated, Greatly Desired, Nervously-With-Baited-Breath-Awaited, Arrival Of……

……….Hopefully that’s enough of a big – build – up!!!!!!

Read on and try not to feel like this!
Read on and try not to feel like this!

Now for the let down bit! All the big-build-up was leading to was an update that  I’ve finally got around to getting some sections of our Integrated Services for Young People intranet set up for all of you to access info and other stuff from me!!

Louise in the Youth Service has got every thing set up for an intranet forum where you can access documents, plans and other stuff I will post there – and again it’s intended to be interactive.

To access it for the first time you’ll have to go to  When you first go in you’ll need to register using the button at the top right of the screen. You’ll need to provide a username and a password. The sytem will let Louise know you’ve registered and she’ll then approve your registration and the system will send you a confirmation e-mail. Once you’ve got that you’re good to go. The home screen looks like this


Once you’ve gone into the intranet site, you’ll find the “Board Index” page. It’s divided into sections and Louise has set me up to post info to some of those sections – you’ll find them under the headings “The Boss’s News”, “The Boss’s Stuff”, “The Boss’s Chat” and “The Boss’s Links”

CaptureI know these things take time to get used to – and indeed that some of you might not really like this sort of thing – it’s not compulsory of course! But I hope you’ll use it as I think it’ll be a quick and effective way of not only getting you further info but also a way of providing easy access to documents, presentations and the like that you might be interested in looking at from time to time!

Support Functions Review

I’ve got a Support Function Project Board meeting later today. I will send an updatefrom that in due course. In the interim though, as I have mentioned in recent briefings, please respond to the consultation about the posts in scope as and where it is relevant, and if you think it is necessary, feel free to copy me in on any issues or points you think I need to be aweare of.

A Dad’s Army Moment……..

Dads Army……Just wanted to share this! On my journey in this morning a young man phoned in to what I assume was his boss – here is the essence of what he said

“Hi! It’s X. You’ll never guess what I’ve done – I was so nervous about today being my first day in charge of the store that I’ve come in and left the keys for opening up at home! Can you believe that?! What an idiot! I’m not panicking though! I was going to go home and get them – it’s just that I …..well….I live out in Epsom and I wondered if anybody else has a set? She does – great! No, it’s not a problem for me to go pick them up from her – where does she live – Battersea? Hang on I’ll check……”

Young man to me: “Does this train go to Battersea?”

Me: “No!”

Young man to phone: “Oh this is a disaster! Looks like I’m on the wrong train for Battersea but I’ll get off and go get the correct train and get the keys from her! Sorry about this!”

Young man stands up and moves to doors of train. Doors however close and train moves away before he gets off!!!

Panic stricken he gets back on his phone “Hello? You’ll never guess what’s happened now? You’ll probably think this is so funny but the train left Victoria before I could get off! (At this point it’s clear from the expression on his face that the person at the other end of the phone isn’t finding this in the least funny!). I don’t know what to do! What time do the rest of the staff arrive for work? As early as that?! I’m not sure what to do……” At this point he looks at me……..

Me: “You’ll have to get off at Clapham and take a train back to Battersea”

Young Man to phone: “I’ll get off at Clapham then go back to Battersea, get the shop keys and then get back to Victoria. When do I have to be there? 8:30? At the latest? (this was 7:45!) Oh I’ll make that easily. No don’t worry I’ll make it. I know it’s importnat. I’ll make it! Bye”

From then on he stood by the doors waiting desperately for Clapham to arrive! I’ve never seen anybody so keen to get to Clapham Junction. Last I saw of him he went charging off down the stairs at Clapham.

He wasn’t dressed like Corporal Jones, he wasn’t the age of Corporal Jones and he didn’t look like like Corporal Jones – but he definitely sounded like Corporal Jones!

“Wisdom Is The Reward You Get For A Lifetime Of Listening When You’d Have Preferred To Talk!” – Staff Briefings Update!

……….As I’d mentioned in the update sent out yesterday, I’m going to run regular briefing sessions for staff. It will give me a chance to update you on key messages, to share my thoughts on the strategic issues and the direction of our improvement work, and to generally be able to hear your views and feedback on both the day to day and the longer term issues we are all engaged with.

Sutton Life Centre
Sutton Life Centre

The first three sessions will be at Sutton Life Centre on Monday March 11th, Friday March 15th, and Tuesday March 26th. Each of the three briefing sessions start at 3:15 and will run till 4:30. On each occasion, if any of you attending the briefing are interested in taking a tour of the Life Centre facilities, this will be available at the end of the session (I’ve been myself and think it’s a resource of great potential – well worth a look).

I want to stress that I only expect you to attend ONE of the three sessions! Vain and egotistical I might be, but even I wouldn’t inflict listening to me more than once, in a short space of time, on anybody! There are three sessions simply to give you some flexibility on attending and to try and accommodate numbers of staff in our division.

Numbers for the sessions are of course limited by the venue itself, so I’d be grateful if you could let Hilary know by e-mail ( , which session you plan to attend – that way we can manage the numbers across the three sessions.

Cafe area at Life Centre - if lots are early and I have to fulfill my pledge on coffee purchasing, you may see a grown Scotsman cry!
Cafe area at Life Centre – if lots are early and I have to fulfill my pledge on coffee purchasing, you may see a grown Scotsman cry!

In the current financial climate, I don’t have the budget to fund refreshments – however there’s a really good cafe within the Life Centre itself where you can get coffee or tea before we start. If you are a little early and in the queue at the same time as me though, I will buy you a coffee! (how’s that for an incentive to be a little early!)

Artists Impression Of Public Clamour For A Place At One Of Col's Briefings!
Artists Impression Of Public Clamour For A Place At One Of Col’s Briefings!

For these first sessions at least one of the Heads of Service will be at each briefing. In future all the Heads of Service will be at every briefing (when I said I wouldn’t inflict listening to me more than once in a short time frame on anybody, I obviously didn’t mean those who HAVE to listen to me! – Lucky Claudette, Jackie and Nigel I hear you say!?!)

So, I look forward to seeing you at one of the briefings during March, if I don’t get the opportunity to see you before. If you are one of the staff going off on leave today, coinciding with all or part of the school holidays, I wish you an enjoyable and relaxing break.

Lastly, don’t forget to sign up to follow on Twitter @EdnEarl if you want to pick up the more frequent updates I’ve started. Please leave a comment if you are inclined – I will respond – and if you haven’t yet done so, please click the “follow” button on the side bar so that you get sent these updates automatically.

Have a good weekend