3.31 — weeknotes — three days at Hounslow House!!

I spent 3 days in Hounslow House this week and to try and escape the fun of the commute every day I decided to stay over on Monday and Tuesday at the delightful Travel Lodge. Was actually really nice to do something a bit different — a holiday in Hounslow as someone described it. Not sure I would go that far but was good, managed to get out for a run around Lampton Park and had some drinks on Tuesday with a colleague.

As part of the new world of work we are trying to see in Hounslow we say that colleagues should only come into the building for a purpose. I think I managed that, unsurprisingly ended up doing some long days but they were really good days, managed to see people not seen for ages and met colleagues that I hadn’t met face to face before so was certainly worth it. That said, I’m not going in next week.

Monday was a day with my Mission Futures, management team, we went through some reflections of the last 18 months and started to think about what we wanted to achieve in the next year or so. Some great ideas coming up through the discussion, lots for me to think about to make the change happen.

We finished Monday with the Member Digital Strategy Board where we took the Board through the latest updates on projects and colleagues gave updates on the Unified Communication and Hounslow Connect projects — both very key projects that are being implemented now. Nice to see a change from talking about things to doing things! Some great feedback from Members on the new Registrars booking service — with some really high % of residents using the online service.

Tuesday, a very domesticated start to the day with an eye test that was overdue for a year thanks to Covid. But all good. Then a meeting and lunch with the Finance and Resources DMT, again really good to see colleagues not seen for 18 months. Slowly it feels like we are starting to get back to normal.

Wednesday was an opportunity to think about our World of Work programme. We met with some designers for some of the space for Hounslow House as well as a walk around the reception and ground floor — trying to think about how we can use this area in the future. The ground floor is an amazing space in Hounslow House and one that has changed from the original design of the building. We no longer need the same space to provide services to our Residents so we have the opportunity to really rethink it and make it a welcoming and useful space for the community. Hounslow High Street itself this week was really busy but as we have not ‘properly’ reopened as yet it was still very quiet around HH.

We also did another of the Summer School sessions this week, bite sized sessions run across the council over the summer on a range of topics. We gave an update on the Digital Strategy, the new registrar system, our new digital data team, communications work and a practical session on content design.

Thursday was our HLG meeting — Hounslow Leadership Group, where the managers of the Council get together on a monthly basis — this was a good meeting and we covered a hell of a lot as usual. World of Work, Customer Experience, Business Administration Programme and the Voluntary Sector to name the main topics.

In the afternoon on Thursday we had a speed dating session with the LEDNet (London Environment Directors Network) from a number of suppliers who have solutions on a range of areas that can help councils with their green agendas. Was really good and lots of food for thought.

Friday — an opportunity to catch up! Time to spend at the Socitm Share National Conference and listening to colleagues on a range of recovery activities — some really good speakers and great panel session. But mainly Friday was chance to catch up on the reports, the paperwork, the ‘stuff’ I didn’t get chance to do during the week.

Actually made some headway on a number of the capital bits and overall projects that we needed to have progressed. Made me reflect that I really do need to spend more time actually progressing the things that need to be moved forwards and not just attend meetings — something for managing the diary next week!

Tune of the Week: (as it was on Drag Race UK which started again this week)

Director of Digital & IT for the London Borough of Hounslow