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Weeknote 4 - 7 May 2021

3 min read

On a busy short week, local elections and COVID in India.


Most of this week has been spent on work related to our finance and workforce systems. Here is a selection of items this week.

  • Preparing to interview successful applicants for our new engineering roles.
  • Attending a review of some unplanned downtime for our recruitment system.
  • Checking on preparations to test the latest quarterly software update next week.
  • Reviewing software and service contracts which cover these systems.
  • Making a final decision on the replacement of some specialist software we use to model organisation structures.
  • Evaluating proposals for automating how we manage annual leave and changes to staff contracts. We are going ahead with one of these right away but the other is going to pause while we make sure the benefits will outweigh the likely costs.
  • Catching up with our other Product Managers to review how we are progressing with our agile transformation and looking at how we can get better at managing our technology architecture and design.

I’ve also found or made a little time for some other topics.

  • Attending a really engaging and informative update on our people strategy. The session started with a light-hearted quiz to test our knowledge of key facts and figures about the Council’s workforce.
  • Introducing one of our Product Managers to some public sector digital communities to make it easier to find and share with others doing similar roles in other councils.
  • Making plans to try more skill sharing with colleagues at Dorset.
  • Talking to our Adult Social Care team about one of their experiments with agile ways of working and how we can work together on the next steps.


The final counting is coming to a close in numerous local elections across the country. My colleagues have put in a load of time and effort to make these elections go smoothly, from staffing polling stations and counting votes to keeping critical systems up and running. There are a load of specialist systems which help us manage elections but this was also a big test of the infrastructure behind our new website. The usual effort has been compounded by COVID restrictions and the implementation of new boundaries[1]. I guess it is a sign of the times that one of the first things the new councillors received was their IT.

It has been an amazing effort but we won’t get to rest long. COVID still requires constant vigilance and preparations for hosting the G7 continue[2].


I’m working with several people who have connections in India and, although the second wave of COVID cases seems to be nearing its peak, it is still taking an enormous toll. As restrictions in the UK ease, please be ready to give time and space to colleagues who may be quietly grieving or anxiously trying to secure supplies and care for friends and family overseas.


  1. Cornwall boundary changes. ↩︎

  2. G7 website. ↩︎

Originally published on by Richard Barton