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Insight February 2011

The staff magazine of Northamptonshire County Council

In this 10th anniversary issue  anaging your future M workshops

Clearing the clutter with N-Able

Insight cuts copies to save money


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Insight February 2011

Welcome!

Our cover star this month is Beverley Wright-Douglas Beverley spent eight years as nurse, before joining the council as a part-time youth and community worker. After graduating from Luton University with qualifications in Youth and Community Studies, Mediation, Counselling and Group Work, Bev spent eight years as an Education Welfare Officer. “It was the best job ever!” she said. Bev then secured a secondment with the Northampton Adolescent Team, which was: “A great opportunity to use the skills that I’d gained from all the years of studying and working.” She also spent time with the Black and Ethnic Minorities Resources Services dealing with looked-after children before returning to Education Welfare. Bev enjoys her job too much to find frustration in any aspect of it. She said: “I love working with children and their families. Helping a young person who has their path refocus on what’s important is incredibly rewarding.” So what has been her proudest moment? “Working with children and raising awareness of the issues surrounding fostering in a programme screened on channel 4.” Bev said. “It was a great experience – and I got recognised in the community too!” Would you like to be one of Insight’s cover stars? Email insight@northamptonshire. gov.uk and tell us a bit about yourself. Insight is published by Communications and Marketing and designed and printed by CDS, the council’s design and print partners. If you have any comments about Insight or would like to suggest ideas for articles, please call us on 01604 237459 or email insight@northamptonshire.gov.uk

Dear colleagues, We’re now well on our way to the new financial year and a period of unprecedented change, not just here at the county council, but across the whole country. I’ve been out and about talking to county residents as part of our You Choose consultation on the draft budget proposals and it does seem as if most people understand why these savings are being proposed. It’s also been encouraging to see how much positive and useful feedback we’ve received from people who have suggested alternative ways of doing things, or ways in which communities could play a more active role in delivering outcomes. Thinking about alternatives is a key point. One of the comments I hear when talking to colleagues across the council is about the amount of change, and how difficult it is to cope when so much is happening at the same time. I agree – it is tough. But rather than bury our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away, I believe we must grasp this opportunity. We have a chance to build on our innovative reputation. We need to be looking for creative solutions and alternative ways of achieving outcomes for our customers and really focusing on our PRIDE values of delivery and excellence. In other words, although we can’t alter the situation, we can alter the way we view it. We can be positive about this change and we can rise to the challenge. Clearly however, many of you are facing redundancy, redeployment, or changes to your terms and conditions and I absolutely understand how worrying this is for you. That is why the council has organised the Managing Your Future event. I, and your directors, strongly encourage you to take the time to attend these workshops. There is no magic wand to take away the worry but they may help you identify alternatives and strategies for managing personal change. See the centre pages for details. Going back to budgets again, we are going to have to cut right back on the money we spend on Insight. This means that we will stop sending printed copies to every workplace and school unless you have no other way of getting this information. Please read the item on page 15 and return the coupon. Finally, I’d like to encourage you to take advantage of the council’s newly-launched Wellbeing programme – see page 14. The programme aims to help improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of all council employees. And the best way to ensure its success is to take part.

Paul Blantern Chief Executive


Insight February 2011

my county council

the people – the places – the projects – the pride

Happy birthday

Planning a Royal Wedding

to us!

street party? The council has launched a free street party planner pack to help you celebrate the forthcoming Royal Wedding. These tell you exactly how to organise a street party and give full details of the permits you’ll need, the legislation that applies and how to close your road to traffic.

This issue, Insight celebrates its 10th birthday.

For full details, visit www. northamptonshire.gov.uk/ royalwedding

We’ve been through lots of changes since we launched in newspaper format back in 2001 and there are more changes planned – see page 15 for further details. One thing has remained constant though and that’s our dedication to keeping you up to date with council news, events and successes – and this is something that we’ll continue to do, whatever happens.

Have you ever thought about being a school governor? As part of the annual Director’s Annual Address to Governors, CYPS corporate director Paul Burnett and cabinet member Cllr Andrew Grant presented awards to governors who had made an exceptional contribution to their school. One of the people receiving an award was Jay Shah from Transport and Highways who is also a governor at Northampton School for Girls.

If you’d like to know more about what’s involved in becoming a school governor, visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk, click on ‘S’ in the A–Z guide and select ‘School Governors’.

The council’s three Outdoor Education centres – Longtown, Grendon Hall and Everdon – are being rebranded under the heading of ‘Venture Out’. The centres offer residential and day courses which complement the National Curriculum for children from three years old, as well as courses for adults. For more information, contact ventureout@ northamptonshire.gov.uk

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Insight February 2011

Project N-Able New ways of working for us I

n our last issue, we introduced Project N-Able which aims to make better use of John Dryden House and reduce our running costs. To make such an enormous piece of work easier to manage, it has been broken down into a number of smaller projects or work streams. And because N-Able is a pilot project for the whole council, we thought it would be helpful to list the different work streams and explain what they are.

PROPERTY

Refurbishment of John Dryden House This involves removing interior offices, the creation of new break out areas, refurbishment of kitchen areas, new carpets and redecorating the walls. While the work is going on, people will be moved to a temporary decant area and then moved back again.

Midsummer House

IT

John Dryden House

Closure of Britannia House This is probably our nicest – but most expensive – building. The lease expires in May and we will not be renewing it. Staff based here will be moved to another building or buildings in Northampton.

This workstream involves re-cabling the ground and first floors at John Dryden House to allow us to make better use of the technology we’ve already invested in, such as Martini and ‘follow-me’ phones. This will allow us to introduce more flexible working arrangements in the building and make much better use of the space.

MFDs and PRINTING

We currently have 29 multi-function devices at JDH (also known as MFDs and perhaps better known as large photocopier/printers). The plan is to have fewer MFDs but to ensure that they are bigger and more reliable.

Closure of Oxford House Another expensive building and one we have been planning to move from for some time. When the lease expires in the autumn, some staff will move to Northampton and some will move to another council property in Wellingborough, although details have not yet been finalised. Move to Riverside House and Midsummer House These two buildings are adjacent to each other, just opposite Midsummer Meadow on the Bedford Road in Northampton. They both have enough space to accommodate staff moving from the buildings which are closing. We need to reduce the number of printers at JDH

We also want to encourage better use of our in-house print facility for large print runs. A common complaint is that people monopolise the MFDs by printing hundreds of letters or documents which really should be printed by our print partners CDS. Using the print room is more considerate to colleagues, prevents wear and tear on the MFDs and, perhaps most crucially, it’s cheaper.

Riverside House

CDS and Communications are putting together a print ready reckoner which will allow you to work out in advance what your print job will cost. We’ll let you know via informer as soon as this is ready.


PAPER LIGHT

As we said in the last issue, one third of the first two floors at JDH is storage space, mainly of files and documents. We need to reclaim this space! The Paper Light project is addressing this in three ways: • Archiving files that need to be kept in an off-site facility

Insight February 2011

The Paper Light project in action

• Disposing of anything that doesn’t need to be kept • Relying more on electronic storage of documents You can read more about progress on this work stream in the box on the right.

NEW WAYS OF WORKING

Flexible/remote working We will be piloting hot-desking and remote/flexible working. A member of the N-Able Project Team will be working with managers to identify the most suitable working style for colleagues within their service to suit the job they do. Clear desk policy If desks are to be shared effectively, they need to be clutter-free each morning. Protocols To make sure the new carpets and walls stay looking good as long as possible, we’ll be introducing some dos and don’ts – these will include not eating hot food at desks and not sticking posters on the walls. Training Training is being developed to ensure that everyone can be up and running with the new ways of working as soon as possible. Training will also be provided to managers to support them in managing team members who move to different work styles. Eileen Jones says that the Meals on Wheels team is looking forward to getting a new carpet – and she is not responsible for this mess!

Clearing the clutter

The Business Transformation Team has worked with colleagues from Records Management and our archiving supplier Mitech to help teams affected by the N-Able project to become ‘paper light’ before their move. Cassie Keable, the BTT project manager said: “As well as providing an information pack which we work through with each team, we’re trying to get people to really think about their documents and change the mindset that says you should always save a paper copy. “Obviously we work within the council’s retention guidelines and we also need to reassure people that their archived files will be easily accessible. But the amount of clutter that accumulates is quite astonishing and it’s good that we have been able to clear this out and free up space.” Not all the clutter has been simply thrown away. “We’re very grateful for the fantastic support we’ve had from Andy Grimes and the caretakers,” said Cassie. “They helped us recycle a lot of the unwanted folders and supplies with schools.” Eileen McLaughlin’s team has just been through the process. She said: “The aims and objectives of the Paper Light project appeared quite daunting at first

but with the challenge and support of the project team, IMRS has significantly reduced the amount of paper being generated and stored in our work area. We are now officially Paper-Light!” However, even before the Paper Light project was up and running, staff in Student Services were ahead of the game. “We knew that we would be moving to a much smaller temporary space at County Hall with very little storage space,” explained the People & Business Strategy Manager Ruth O’Donnell. “We also knew that we’d have less room when we move back to John Dryden House so the whole team has worked really hard to reduce the amount of documentation we keep and to clear out our clutter. “We had great support from Susan Hird in Property as well as from IT and I feel confident that this preparation will make our moves less stressful.” Ruth’s example is a lesson for all teams – start now to clear the clutter!

With the contractor due on site at the end of February, Project N-Able will soon be having a big impact on the council. Look out for more information in Insight, the Informer bulletins and the monthly N-Able bulletins.

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Insight February 2011

Budget proposals to help face huge challenge E

veryone will be aware of the huge financial challenges facing the county and the proposals we have published over the last two months on how we could rise to these challenges. Over the last year we have been totally transparent about the financial challenges we face as a result of significant reductions in government funding and the very significant increases in demands for our services – requiring us to save £141m over the next four years. In December and January we announced a series of proposals totalling £73m for the next financial year. We are currently undergoing public consultation on these proposals which ends on 8th February while two separate consultations are also being

undertaken with employees and trade unions – both for a minimum of 90 days.

Paul Blantern speaking at one of the many You Choose public engagement events

The proposals will be discussed by cabinet on 15th February before a final decision is taken on them by full council on 24th February. Chief executive Paul Blantern said: “We of course know what a very unsettling time this is for everyone. Our proposals mean that up to 900 people could lose their jobs and we fully understand the impact that is having on individuals, teams and directorates across the council. “Put simply however, we don’t have a choice. We are faced with the largest financial challenge in our history so some very tough and painful decisions are having to be made. We have

achieved so much already through our innovative approach to new ways of working and this work needs to continue. “I am committed to open consultation so please take a look at the proposals and take your chance to comment, put forward your views and ideas on how we deal with the most significant financial challenge this council has faced.” For full details of the proposals, go to www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/ youchoose

Building the Big Society T

he county’s business leaders have met with the county council and the University of Northampton at a business breakfast event to see how they could play a role in shaping the Big Society. The Big Society refers to a more proactive, community-led approach to social issues and closely allies with our core purposes of ‘Helping You to Help Yourself’ and ‘Helping You When You Can’t Help Yourself’. The business leaders are part of the Ambassadors Programme – an initiative run by Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited to promote the county externally – and the business breakfast follows on from last October’s Big Society

conference which was held in partnership with The Northamptonshire Community Foundation. At the time the council and the university jointly announced the establishment of a leadership academy for Northamptonshire to support the training and development of local people who want to make a contribution to their communities and neighbourhoods.

For more information about the summit and those who attended, visit www. northamptonshire.gov.uk, select ‘B’ from the A–Z listing and click on ‘Big Society’.


Insight February 2011

Local Government Shared Services Where are we now? LGSS has been up and running for four months now and both our council and Cambridgeshire County Council have begun to see the benefits. The recruitment of the LGSS Management Board has resulted in a saving of ÂŁ230k and the recent contract to host our Oracle ERP platform has achieved a saving of ÂŁ7m which will be realised over the next seven years. This is a fantastic start but in order to get the maximum benefit in terms of service improvements and financial savings, we need to continue developing LGSS. Initially we are focusing on seven areas:

Organisational design and employment LGSS needs to develop its organisational structure so that we become one organisation working across the two locations, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. The Management Board was the top tier of this restructure and we are now working on the areas below this. We are currently undergoing a consultation with recognised Trade Unions on some organisational design changes – details of the current proposals can be found on the intranet under LGSS Consultation. Oracle Convergence Although we have one Oracle ERP platform supporting both councils, each council is using ERP in different ways. We now want to move to the latest version of ERP and adapt our processes so they are the same at both locations. This will mean that we only have one way of working rather than two, and that we will have best practice processes.

Process improvement, self service and service transformation As well as improving our ERP processes we also want to improve the way we work in other areas, whether that is making the most of other systems and technologies or streamlining processes to make them more efficient. We will look to develop LGSS to ensure that we are operating in the most efficient and effective way possible. Culture and behavioural change In order to make the two LGSS locations, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, think and deliver as one business, we need to develop a culture and identity for LGSS. This will be especially important as LGSS seeks new business and expands to provide services for other organisations. Commercial A clear commercial strategy is required in order for LGSS to expand the number of organisations it provides services to. This includes working out what services we are willing to provide and for how much, as well as details on the type of organisations we wish to work with and the way in which we will engage with them.

Service Planning LGSS has begun work on its strategic direction and corporate outcomes for the next year. Once this is finalised we will be service planning for each directorate within LGSS. Alignment of scope When LGSS launched in October there were some differences in the services that each council put into the shared service. We now need to look at aligning the services provided through LGSS. Sharing services is currently one of the hot topics within local government and the wider public sector. Having worked to set up LGSS over the past two years we are certainly ahead of the game. By developing LGSS we will be able to build on this fantastic start and realise real benefits for both Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire County Councils.

Colleagues from the Cambridge and Northampton offices working on the transformation plans. From L to R: Yvonne Harris, Peter Cox, and Fiona Perkins

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Insight February 2011

Managing Your Future – practical help for you

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he council recognises that the cuts proposed in the draft budget for 2011–12 and the changes in terms and conditions following the Pay & Benefits Review will have a major impact on many employees. Chief executive Paul Blantern said: “My colleagues in the Corporate Management Team and I do of course understand what a worrying time this is for employees.” As responsible employers, the Corporate Management Team has asked our Organisational & Workforce Development (OWD) service to provide employees with the information, guidance and support they need to manage this change and identify their options for the future.

OWD have worked with a number of agencies to host a series of workshops and information stands which will take place over two days. The event will take place at The Park Inn in Northampton on 1st and 2nd March and is being heavily subsided by suppliers and partner organisations to minimise the cost to the council. If you are affected by the budget proposals or other organisational change, you are encouraged to come along on one of the two days. There are seven workshops on offer and you can sign up for three of these – each lasts about 45 minutes so please allow around three hours altogether. All managers have been informed of the event and asked to maximise opportunities for employees to attend. Read on for details of the workshops and how to book your place.


Workshops 1 – CV Preparation This workshop will help you decide what to include in your CV and show you the best way to structure it, the language and grammar you should use and how to make it look as professional as possible. 2 – Interviewing skills It can be daunting filling in application forms and applying for jobs if you haven’t done this for a while so this session includes completing an effective application form and preparing for interviews. You will be able to practice an interview in a safe environment, and discuss the sort of questions that interviewers ask as well as things like body language and what to wear. 3 – Emotional and Physical Well-Being If you are ‘in scope’ or at risk of redundancy it is important that you look after yourself. This workshop will help you explore the emotional impact of change, support you in finding ways to deal with this difficult time and give you the confidence to ask for help in achieving good health and well-being. 4 – Self Employment – Setting up on your Own This session will help you understand the basic legal and technical aspects of setting up business for yourself. It will provide a forum where you can start to understand what sort of business you are interested in setting up whilst highlighting the pros and cons of running your own business. 5 – Presentation skills By the end of this session, you will understand how to structure and plan a presentation, what content to include and how to manage your audience. You will also have an opportunity to deliver a simple presentation in a supportive environment. 6 – Social Care Transformation This workshop is aimed specifically at people working in social care. It looks at the skills and experience acquired in social care settings and how transferable these are to other roles or careers. It will also help you identify your own skills and knowledge as well as identify any gaps – and how and where to gain new skills. 7 – Financial and/or Retirement Planning If you are approaching retirement or a career change, this workshop will help prepare and guide you in making the necessary lifestyle, financial and pension decisions. It covers budgeting in retirement or periods of change, anticipating the impact of change and will hopefully allow you to look forward to the future with greater confidence.

Exhibitors

As well as the workshops, you will find a wealth of useful information from our colleagues and partner organisations, including: • Unison • Northamptonshire Libraries and Information Services • Adult Learning • EADS (Employment and Disability Service) • The Prince’s Trust • County Council Pensions Team • Wellbeing/Employee Assist • Jobcentre Plus • BTCV Employment Services (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) • Next Steps • Business Link • Uniec Financial Solutions • Northampton Volunteering Centre • 3e Enterprise • Northampton College • Pride Leaders

Insight February 2011

Who should attend?

All council employees (including managers), especially those affected, or likely to be affected, by changes in their employment through redundancy, redeployment or changes to their terms and conditions. The workshops are also being offered to our colleagues in schools and the district and borough councils.

Dates, times and place The workshops and information stands will take place on Tuesday 1st March from 11am to 7pm and Tuesday 2nd March from 9am to 5pm. Please allow around three hours for your chosen workshops and to look at the information on offer. The venue is the Park Inn, Silver Street, Northampton NN1 2TA.

How to book

Please use the online form on the Managing Your Future page on our internet site. You can find this, along with all the other information you need at http://bit.ly/dQbAWZ If you have problems accessing these links or have any queries, please email Workforcedevelopment@ northamptonshire.gov.uk or ask your manager to do so on your behalf.

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Insight February 2011

Aiming High for Disabled Children S

ince 2008, Aiming High for Disabled Children Northamptonshire – a partnership initiative between the county council and NHS Northamptonshire – has been working with families with disabled children to increase and provide services that are easier to access. An information campaign will be launched this month to raise the partnership’s profile with parents, carers and professionals from health education and social care. The campaign will: • Encourage families and professionals to make more use of our Families Information Service (FIS) for information, advice and support – for details of how to contact them, see the next page. If the FIS cannot help, they will refer customers on to the Disabled Children’s Core Offer team or the Disabled Children’s team.

• Distribute information cards to schools, children’s centres, libraries, NHS sites, local councils and voluntary organisations throughout Northamptonshire. These will also be available from the campaign’s website in other languages and formats. • Publicise the Special Needs Index (SNIX). SNIX is another council service and is a great way for parents, carers and professionals to keep up to date with what’s on offer for families with disabled children. Registration is free and entitles you to receive SNIX’s highly-praised newsletter three times a year. To find out more, visit www.aiming highnorthants.co.uk

Cracking down on fly tipping A fly tipping enforcement officer based within the trading standards service will take the lead in investigating and prosecuting people who fly tip. They will also work to ensure that householders understand that it is their legal responsibility to use a registered waste carrier when they dispose of waste or pay someone to remove it for them – using someone who does not have a valid waste carrier’s license risks a fine of up to £5,000.

We all have to pay to clear illegally dumped rubbish like this

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round a thousand incidents of fly tipping are reported in Northamptonshire every month, costing the county more than £650,000 a year – a bill that ends up being picked up by householders through their council tax. Fly tipping is the illegal dumping of waste and can involve anything from

domestic items such as fridges, sofas and mattresses to garden waste, tyres and construction waste. The Northamptonshire Waste Partnership – of which we are part – is increasing its efforts to address the issue by telling people how to report fly tipping as well as raising awareness of everyone’s legal obligations when disposing of waste.

Once rubbish has been illegally dumped, the responsibility for clearing it lies with the landowner who then has to foot the bill. The fly tipping officer will help raise land owners’ awareness of what to do if they suffer from fly tipped rubbish. In addition, information will be distributed to local businesses to ensure they fully understand their legal responsibilities when it comes to dealing with waste. The advert for the fly tipping campaign is featured on our back page. If you’re paying someone to clear your rubbish, check the fly tipping pages on our website to find out what you need to do.


Insight February 2011

Award for Families Information Service C

ongratulations to the Families Information Service which has achieved the Families First Standards award. Families Information Services provide free information, advice and guidance on childcare, activities and organisations that help families. They are also the first port of call for all families – and professionals working with families – who have a disabled child. The award was developed by the National Association of Families Information Services to ensure that all local authorities are consistent in the type and quality of information they deliver. For more information on the services available to families in Northamptonshire, visit the Families Information Service website at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/fis, call 01604 237935 or email fis@northamptonshire.gov.uk

Tim O’Neill, head of ext ended ser vices to chi ldren, young people and with members of the families (centre) Families Information Se rvic e. From L to R: Mike Kin Liam Clarke, Caroline gman, Kiely, Kelly Mills and Ch ris Deasy

eBooks – another great service from our libraries F

or some time now, library customers have been asking for e-books. After looking at what other libraries provide, our library service is delighted to launch a collection of 140 titles including crime, travel, history, children’s, teens and life stories. Grace Kempster, customer and library service manager, said: “Customers can use their library card number to go to the Bloomsbury website where they can read titles from their PC, laptop or iPad. There are no issues with downloading, timing out or late returns and we know this service works really well elsewhere in the country.

After all, every penny counts and we want to see if this suits our customers

“The e-books offer is limited until we see how well it is received. It is offered as part of the books and media fund and if we find some customers prefer to read like this, we can make the decision to buy fewer copies of best sellers for our library shelves. “After all, every penny counts and we want to see if this suits our customers.”

The e-books are the latest in a fantastic range of online library services which include dictionaries, encyclopaedias, newspapers, driving theory tests and resources for small business. So grab your library card and go to www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/ ebooks

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Insight February 2011

Celebrating Success Awards 2010 The Silverstone Leadership Award – Sarah Buswell-Jones She was delighted to be nominated for the award, though admits it was a shock: “It was a huge honour,” she said. “When I thought about the other nominees, and about some of the leaders that I’d worked with and who had inspired me, I realised that to be thought of in the same way was amazing.” So what does Sarah think has been the key to her success? “Effective cross-departmental working has really helped to significantly widen the scope of opportunities that are available to adults with learning difficulties. This has enabled the council to become a much stronger employer of disabled people. We still have a long way to go but we’re definitely moving in the right direction. “I’ve worked for Northamptonshire County Council for 19 years and I am passionate about disabled people’s rights and a firm believer in equality. It’s these Sarah Buswell-Jones, winner of the Leadership Award convictions that drive me onwards. And the people that I help to support – their t the time she won the enthusiasm and their strength – all award, Sarah managed keep me motivated to succeed.” Riverside Resource Centre,

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a day centre based in South Northamptonshire that creates opportunities for adults with learning disabilities to live independently. Her role has since changed and she now oversees the provision of day opportunities throughout the county. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is her outlook. She is still a dedicated and loyal professional who has been a keen participant in the field of social care since volunteering for the council at the age of 14.

I am passionate about disabled people’s rights and a firm believer in equality. It’s these convictions that drive me onwards 

It’s clear that Sarah is exactly the sort of strong and gifted advocate that disabled people need on side if they are to stand a chance of overcoming barriers to success. How does she see the council playing an active part in the challenge? “I’m naturally impatient and I always want things done immediately. However, I’ve learnt over time that this isn’t always possible – especially within a large organisation such as Northamptonshire County Council. But we’re part of a workforce who are really committed, which makes for a great working environment – and gives us the opportunity to make a real, positive difference to people’s lives and communities.”

Celebrating Success Awards 2010

Award for Working with the Community and Voluntary Sector – Suzi Rigby When nominating Suzi for the award, Anna O’Dell said: “Suzi has taken on the role of Community and Voluntary Sector worker with huge relish, consistently challenging herself, her colleagues and members of the public in order to promote the rights and inclusion of our customers.” Suzi works with a wide range of clients, and is passionate about her role. She has an impressive array of contacts within Kettering and Corby who are always on hand to offer voluntary opportunities for her customers – some of whom have high levels of support needs. Suzi has happily taken on a supervisory role, and works with a large group of customers, facilitating reviews and maintaining meaningful, professional relationships with carers and outside agencies. She often works outside her contracted hours to ensure that the needs of customers and their family members are fully supported. Suzi is always positive and enthusiastic, and always willing to ‘go the extra mile’ – a worthy winner.

Suzi Rigby receives her award from Cllr Judy Shephard and Cllr Bill Parker

“I am Northamptonshire County Council”


Insight February 2011

Celebrating Success Awards 2010 Team of the Year – LASI

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aving reduced the numbers of schools of schools under Ofsted special measures or improvement notices by a staggering 63% between January 2008 and December 2009, the LASI (Learning, Achievement and School Improvement) team certainly deserved their Team of the Year award – but how did it feel to win? Rachel Singer, the team’s head of service told us: “It felt fantastic to be nominated. We were pleased and proud simply to have achieved that! To actually win was a real surprise.” The team, who are based at Northampton’s Britannia House, have enjoyed some great triumphs over the

last few months. Aside from the accomplishments noted above, they’ve also managed to raise countywide levels of pupil attainment, meaning that schoolchildren throughout Northamptonshire are achieving more and greater levels of success in the classroom. Rachel attributes this to a combination of: “Collaboration, dedication and a sense of humour. The team are a joy to work with. They are skilled, intelligent, empathetic and highly effective.”

The team are a joy to work with. They are skilled, intelligent, empathetic and highly effective

So how does Rachel intend that the team build on their achievements and continue to deliver? “Our ambition for 2011/12 is to see collaborative improvements developing strongly throughout our schools. The landscape in the public sector – and in education in particular – is changing unimaginably quickly, and change always carries an element of risk. “Managing these risks will require that effective and strong leadership, teaching and learning take place in every school. LASI are committed to ensuring that children and young people in all of Northamptonshire’s schools get the best possible opportunities – every day.”

Celebrating Success Awards 2010 The Teacher of the Year Award – Louise Worrell “The Mary Poppins of the classroom” – that’s how Susan Foster described Louise Worrell from Stanwick School. Susan, who nominated Louise for the award, added: “Louise graduated relatively recently, but she comes across as a vastly experienced and exceptional teacher. She shows care and concern for all her pupils and their families – even visiting them in hospital on her own time with cards and gifts from classmates.”

career. “You need to be quick to adapt. Changes will come thick and fast and you need to be able to change with them. You also need a sense of humour, that’s absolutely vital, and you need lots of patience, too – especially if you teach a reception class!”

Louise told us: “I was extremely flattered to have been nominated and delighted to have been recognised as a professional so early in my career.”

So how does Louise see the years to come? “The challenges – as always – lie in adjusting to the constant changes to the curriculum and in finding adequate funding to enable schools to operate successfully. I don’t see classroom techniques changing too dramatically,

We asked Louise what attributes are needed for a successful teaching

Louise continued: “You have to be organised and prepared to give up lots of your free time – it’s certainly not just a nine-to-five role.”

“I am Northamptonshire County Council”

Louise Worrell, Teacher of the Year

but I can see ICT becoming more and more prevalent, making lessons engaging and interesting for the pupils, and helping them to learn.” And that, of course, is the whole point.

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Insight February 2011

Wellbeing at work I

ll-health costs UK businesses billions of pounds every year. Northamptonshire County Council has been proactive in an attempt to address the issue and is introducing new initiatives to improve employee wellbeing. The Wellbeing programme is now up and running and forms part of the PRIDE employee engagement scheme under the ‘Responsibility’ strand. Managers have objectives to work towards with the help of newly-appointed Wellbeing ambassadors, to ensure that their staff are supported with regards to their health and wellbeing.

There are four key aspects to the council’s approach: • To create a culture of wellbeing • To support managers and individuals to be healthier • To help us to improve our physical health • To offer us the opportunity to improve our emotional wellbeing

He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has everything Thomas Carlyle

Wellbeing ambassadors are currently being recruited to help the council’s Healthy Workplace Adviser, Neill Boddington, to implement wellbeing initiatives throughout the various council buildings. Events so far have included the Wear It Pink day for breast cancer awareness, health walks, blood pressure clinics and taster sessions in a variety of different activities such as Pilates. “Each ambassador can offer whatever they can to the programme,” said Neill. “Their involvement could range from putting up posters to hosting events.

Gary Jackson from Workforce Development encourages colleagues at the Wellbeing Ambassadors launch event to cycle for their smoothies

We just need help in getting the wellbeing message across to teams.” The official launch of the Ambassador programme took place in January. It was a fun and informative session with a variety of activities and speakers including Dr Stephen Horsley, the NHS Director of Public Health, and HR Professional Services Manager, Martin Cox. A smoothie bike got the new Ambassadors active and offered a healthy alternative to the usual refreshments. Ambassadors were given lots of information about setting up healthy workplace initiatives like lunchtime walks and were told where to direct people to seek further advice on health and wellbeing issues. Neill has also

created dedicated Wellbeing pages on the intranet where you can find more information about the programme and details of how to become an Neill Boddington ambassador. Use the A to Z search on the homepage, select W from the list and click on ‘Wellbeing’. If you’re not able to access the intranet, email Neill at nboddington@northamptonshire. gov.uk


Insight February 2011

Insight – past, present and future I

nsight was first launched in January 2001 as a way of improving communication across the council. Its purpose was – and still is – to keep all staff informed of matters that affect them, celebrate successes, and help us all feel proud of working for Northamptonshire County Council.

Online delivery is the main channel A recent survey on the intranet showed that well over half the people who responded no longer read a hard copy of Insight, but instead read the PDF version on their computers. And in future, this will be our main way of delivering Insight to you. We’re currently looking at ways to make it easier to read on the screen.

Since then, we’ve developed a number of other ways of sharing information throughout the council, such as the weekly Informer bulletins and Core Brief. However, we know from feedback and from the number of articles submitted each month, that many of you continue to value Insight as a way of learning about the council and the people who work here.

Printed copies for those who need them We appreciate that there will still be a need for some printed copies so we’re also exploring different options. After all, not everyone has access to the intranet and even those who do may find it may find it difficult to read a magazine online. So if you belong to a team that needs printed copies please fill in the form below and send it back to Insight c/o The Communications Team.

But like every other part of the council, we need to save money. We’ve steadily cut back on distribution over the years and our print run is now half what it was back in 2001 – but we need to cut it much further. A printed staff magazine has become a luxury.

It’s really important that you do this as otherwise we won’t be able to take your preference into account. It would help us if one person could fill out the form for a team or school, rather than us getting hundreds of forms from individuals. Don’t forget to give us a contact name and phone number in case of any queries.

Insight – request for printed copies

Name of team/school:............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Address of team/school: . .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Named contact: ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Contact’s phone number: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Number of copies required:............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Please return this form via the internal post to Insight, Communications & Marketing, Room 90, County Hall or fax it to 01604 237255. You can also fill in the online form on the intranet.

Christmas quiz winner Many thanks to everyone who entered our Christmas quiz and well done to our winner Sue Church from Youth Services at Russell House who wins a £10 gift voucher.

15


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Is this

We’re cracking down on fly tipping All your rubbish is your responsibility Make sure it doesn’t get dumped! If you’re having a clear out check the company collecting your rubbish is authorised to do so. If you do not make the check you will be fined up to £5,000 if your rubbish is found dumped.

Find out more: www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/flytipping


Insight