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Weeknote 5 - 9 October 2020

3 min read

Mostly back-office systems with a sprinkle of other things


Most of this week was basic housekeeping work on our finance, workforce and procurement systems. This included delving into things like funding and staffing for on-going support. I’ve also been looking into a long list of small issues that have emerged since we made some big changes back in April. This isn’t unusual for a big systems change like this. I haven’t got the specialist knowledge needed to deal with these issues myself so my role is to help everyone be clear about the priorities and deal with anything which is getting in the way of our team of specialists.

I’ve also been working on improvements and extensions to these systems such as support for a big Equality and Diversity campaign, providing more powerful tools for line managers and exchanging data with our front-line systems (for example, to manage details of income and spending).

I’ve still had a little time for coaching other teams and this has included:

  • how to build up the confidence of team members so they feel comfortable sharing their ideas in group sessions
  • what sort of risk can be managed at the procurement and contracting stage of a project and what can only be managed effectively during delivery
  • finding ways of planning work in areas where we are still learning fast, such as using public cloud services
  • uncovering opportunities to pool requirements and strike better deals with suppliers - in many cases the best opportunities are across organisations rather than within them.


I’ve been learning more about how our support processes and systems work; for example, what happens when someone calls our internal help desk and how we make sure our support teams stay focused on the most important things.


I got through most of the things I was planning last week but a notable exception was Local Gov Camp[1] . I’ll have to catch up on the recordings later. My current look forward includes:

  • Interviewing candidates to fill some of our vacant posts.
  • Building a cross functional group to help set priorities for how we support and develop our back office systems.


Most of our staff have been working from home successfully since the start of the COVID-19 restrictions but some of my team have been battling various technical and practical issues. It was probably reasonable to expect people to put up with these things in the early weeks of lockdown, but it probably isn’t now and certainly won’t be if we are going to have to work this way for months more. This week I have been finding out who in the team needs more help with working from home and what I need to do to fix things.


  1. LocalGovCamp2020 ↩︎

Originally published on by Richard Barton