On new starters, public sector sharing and race equality in Cornwall.
Highlight of this week was getting one of our new engineers started and introducing them to the team. COVID restrictions still make this harder than normal but we are getting better at it as we get more practice.
Cornwall Council is unique but parts of what we do and some of our issues have a lot in common with other organisations, especially in the public sector. I am a member of a number of groups which are trying to collaborate on shared challenges so we can make our limited individual efforts go further. I attended meet ups for two of these groups this week.
One group is taking a fresh look at how we might share more across councils1. For example, suppliers are often able to offer better prices for larger volumes. If several councils collaborated in purchasing supplies or equipment then they might be able to save money. This is not a new idea and you will always be able to find examples going on but many of us think we are only doing a small portion of what is possible. One of the topics the group looked at this week was funding and governance. The current arrangements for councils aren’t set up to make this sort of sharing easy so the group collected examples of what they had seen work in other sectors.
Another group is looking at how the public sector designs and uses operating models2. Some of the group are new to the topic and seeking to learn more. Others have a lot of experience but aren’t satisfied with how things are done at the moment. Several of the group fed back on actions they had taken following our previous catch up and we discussed what would be most useful to do as a group. One of the things the group could do is to tackle the jargon and counter some of the common misconceptions. We could also create a beginners guide to help teams that don’t have a lot of direct experience themselves but who are capable of taking the first steps with some good hints and tips.
I enjoyed attending the Cornwall Race Equality Forum3 meeting this week although I think it will take me a bit longer to make sense of how the Forum will work. The Forum is comprised of public bodies, charities and interested individuals who share an ambition to increase racial equality across Cornwall. Aligning the efforts of all these participants will, hopefully, increase the impact they can all have but getting such a diverse group to work well together may not be easy as we all have different resources and constraints.