Tag Archives: Budget



We had new statutory guidance out from DfE on this over the summer. Peter from Admissions and Gill from Attendance have prepared an initial review, self assessment and briefing notes on the changes. We’ll meet this week to go through those and from there we’ll be deciding what our priorities are in the weeks and months ahead.


The women in my life, and even the dog, seem to be consumed already with that irritating nonsense called X Factor. I can never quite tell whether this programme is really about talent spotting, Cowell making money or just finding a way to absolutely irritate the sweet life out of me! I can’t help but chunter and moan and grumble about it every time I pass through the room when they are watching it! But this weekend they got their own back – I was in another room singing and playing my guitar delivering what I thought was a romantic and uplifting version of a Bon Iver song. I was interrupted with a long and abusive critique of my performance which concluded by suggesting that my guitar playing sounded like it was being done by a man wearing oven gloves!!!! There’s a cruelty in our house that makes me realise that if X Factor judging needs really vicious comments and someone to play the role of a ‘nasty’ judge, they should forget Cowell and the others and just hold the auditions in our lounge! Continue reading IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE (LITERALLY)…..THEN I’M YOUR MAN!


“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!!!!

As Julie Once Said – Let’s Start At The Very Beginning!

If This Blog Becomes A Musical, It will Look Like This!
If This Blog Becomes A Musical, It will Look Like This!

……….The place that’s the “very good place to start” is sorry – my apologies that it’s taken me so long to deliver the communications that you are entitled to – hopefully the post below this will explain to you why I’m now using a blog to do this from here on. I hope you’ll not only get something from the news updates and other posts that I’ll put on here but I hope you’ll interact with me too through the comments facility – if you have never used it before it’s really easy to do and I will respond (eventually!) And at this point I will reassure you that that is the one and only time you’ll see a quote from Julie Andrews in the Sound Of Music in this blog!

Anyway -here is the update for January 30th 2013


The Interviews for the Exec Head Role were demanding - but at least not like this!
The Interviews for the Exec Head Role were demanding – but at least not like this!

I was delighted to secure the permanent post with Sutton. The process was quite long– these things tend to have a number of rounds – a bit like Strictly Come Dancing but without the public votes each week!
I’d never intended staying when I first came – but I’ve been made to feel really welcome by everyone and I’ve been really impressed with a great deal of what’s done here – it’s also of course a place on the verge of change, and while it will have it’s challenges I also think it will present real opportunities – so I’m looking forward enormously to being part of that and to working with all of you


For the purpose of communicating with you, I wanted to share some basic terminology – so you know what I’m on about! I’ll refer to CYPLD (led by Tolis) as a “Directorate”, to Education and Early Intervention (led by me) as a “Division” and to the three areas led by Nigel, Claudette, and Jackie as “Services”. In addition  I’m likely to refer to the services led by Nigel as “school improvement”, the services led by Jackie as “early intervention” and the services led by Claudette  as “young people interventions”. I know all too well that these don’t reflect in detail the range or focus of the service areas but for the purposes of communicating through updates like this, I hope you’ll accept that I’m using them for ease of reference

CH….CH….CH…..CH……CHANGES! (Turn And Face The Strain! – Added purely for those who want to sing along if you recognise the lyric!)

You probably know that the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is up and running, based at Sutton Police Station. Lynne Rigg, who was oreviously the Education Safeguarding Advisor, reduced her hours significantly from January and as a result we’ve restructured how we deliver this provision to ensure we can have a permanent representative for Education within the MASH. After interviews, we’re delighted to confirm we are appointing Jenny Wood to the post within MASH and Jenny will take up her new role at the beginning of March 2013.

Our new inspector for SEN, Karen Shaw, started in her new role at the beginning of this term. Karen works as part of our Inclusion services, under Maria Marsh, working out of Chaucer. Welcome to Karen!

Some of you will already be aware that Pat Butler has just retired from her role as Head of Service for our “Intervention For Young People” services. Her last day was officially at the end of December.

Pat had signalled her desire to retire some time ago and in the interim most of the focus has been on agreeing when that retirement would take place. Losing someone of Pat’s experience was always going to be a challenge and there would never have been a good time to lose that vast knowledge and enthusiasm, which those of you who have worked with her with know only too well, but we reached a date which met Pat’s individual preferences and allowed the Directorate to consider how to manage in her absence. She will of course be greatly missed.

However I’m delighted to tell you that our YOT Manager, Claudette Brown, will step up from her role as Pat’s designated deputy to take on the Head of Service duties with immediate effect. In order to ensure there is capacity in YOT as a result of Claudette’s move, she will be working with HR in the weeks ahead to offer the opportunity to relevant staff to express an interest in the interim YOT manager role, and beyond that we’ll add in the relevant capacity wherever we think it might be needed. I will update you further as the spring term progresses.

I know there are posts we have been either holding vacant or with rolling temporary contracts in various teams. It’s not a situation I am comfortable with, and it is unsettling for the staff concerned. Just before Christmas I asked Jackie and Pat for a summary of all the vacant and temporary contracts posts and I believe we have now resolved most of these and where relevant. Renewals are confirmed

The last change was on the transfer of the Intensive Family Support from the Joint Adolescent Service with us to the emerging new Families Matter service, sitting win the Chief Executive’s Department. There have been a number of shifts and changes of policy and decision around the development of this service, but just before Christmas it was resolved to transfer all of IFS now rather than in phases as had been originally considered. as a result Rory Campbell, Tanuja Cook and Mandy Dennelly have all transferred to new posts in the new service and I wish them and their colleagues in the new Families Matter provision every success.


Directorate Management Team – We have these every week. They involve the DCS, Tolis and the Exec Heads, including myself – Ann Goldsmith, Palvinder Kudhail, Annette Madden and Sharman Lawson. The focus of the agendas is flexible, though at least once a month there’s a focus on performance monitoring including outcomes, HR, Finance, QA feedback etc. Generally, this is where much of the decision making takes place on policy, strategy and significant operational issues.  At the meeting at the start of December we looked at a Risk Assessment Profile which school improvement had compiled on how each of our schools might be judged at their next OfSTED inspection. On the whole, most of our schools are likely to continue to be judged good or better. However there are a small number where there is a risk of them being judged as “requiring improvement” and so these will inevitably be a priority for us to support and challenge in the future. We also considered a set of high level options for delivering on CYPLD’s savings targets for 2013 and beyond. Some of these will be within our division and I’ll initially work with Claudette and Jackie on developing more detailed proposals and a thorough analysis of the risks and implications inherent within them. Then, at the most recent meeting, we reviewed the overall budget position at Month 9, an emerging Communications Plan for the Council and the current corporate project to review support functions across the Council. There was considerable debate and discussion about the last item as it will be important to balance an approach which maximises efficiency with ensuring commissioning directorates like ours have the specialisms and support flexibility we will need to deliver the highest of standards. In principle, I think the review of support functions is entirely right. My feedback focused on process, management implications at team level, engagement of managers in the review at the right stage, and some of the criteria we will need to apply when deciding whether or not not to make changes to a role, such as considering whether to centralise.

One key message that I would want to emphasise for all of you who are budget holders is the importance of getting your budget set-up correct for 13-14 as we seem to have more control over that than in the previous year and also stress the importance of short summary budget narratives being provided back to your Heads of Service and to Finance, which clarify any queries or comments that might otherwise arise when budgets are reviewed.


………. As many of you know I go back and forward between Sutton and Essex on a daily basis. I come in by Tube and train, and on the whole the journey is fine and I can get a lot done, which is important when the journey takes about 2 hours each way! However travelling by Tube and aim is a rather solitary experience – and my fellow commuters look….well….miserable. And I wonder if I look like they do and they are thinking that about me!!!!! So a plea- if I arrive for a meeting, especially first thing in the morning, looking a bit miserable – challenge me! My family do at the other end of the day – and they won’t be as pleasant about it as you will be!


……..I’ve got several ridiculous phrases and quotes culled from songs, books and films that I use frequently – my family hate it and I guess you all might too – so this is an apology in advance for quotes from Shrek, Squeeze, Sylvester The Cat etc etc etc! One of them is to wait for a pause after someone says “So….” and get in with “a needle pulling thread??????” – which tells you two things. Firstly it is irritating! Secondly when I said that at the beginning of this blog post that it would be the only time I would ever quote from The Sound Of Music, I didn’t mean it!