Diary, 21st – 27th September 2015

Now you’ve got a feel for what I do, most Diary blogs from now on will be edited highlights. Trust me, you’d get bored and I’d get RSI…

This week kicked off with me on Monday morning out in the wet and cold, stupidly dressed in just a light jacket, collecting the surveys I’d left with residents the previous day’s doorknocking. Oh the glamour.

Oh the glamour.

Back for the weekly round of Quartets and Cabinet Members, the interesting addition to the day being the half termly meeting between myself, senior officers and academy sponsors in the city to keep in touch. I’m told this is one of the only such meetings in the country- I take the stance that whatever type of governance your school has, if you have Birmingham children in there I want to work with you. They’re really good meetings, and from what the sponsors tell me a reminder of how isolating it can be to be completely adrift of the council and city and how much more we can actually achieve together.

Tuesday‘s highlight was Cabinet, a formal meeting where we take decisions on strategy and spending. Monthly performance measures were challenged by our opposite numbers- predictably, given the safeguarding situation, rather a lot of it came my way. Re-tendering a foster carer framework contract and refreshing the Think Family programme approach for its second phase made up most of my items.

Wednesday, an 8am start at Primary Forum- each phase has it’s own head’s forum and I try to attend at least once a half term to keep in touch. Lively debate about a number of issues, including the Early Years Review- more on that on a blog to follow.

Easily the highlight of my week, probably month, potentially year- I spent Thursday afternoon shadowing a social worker in the south of the city. I try to get out to visit staff at work as often as I can, but have wanted for some time to go out again and see the actual work they do, something I last did two years ago. It’s one thing to know what a social worker does in theory, it’s really quite another to look a woman in the eyes as she’s told her grandchildren may never go back to their mother. I had an incredibly varied an insightful time and am really grateful to my chaperone for letting me come along, and to the families who let me have a glimpse of the work we do with them. My respect for everyone on the frontline of our service was re-doubled, probably re-tripled by the end of the day. Every time I think I’m having a tough day in the office, that afternoon is what I’m going to think of to remind me that I’m really not.

Friday, out and about in my ward- I try to keep Fridays for Selly Oak. Met with representatives who are hoping to meet with city planners to discuss the area, and residents near a pub to address some of the problems associated with it. Saturday, another door-knocking session, near Cherry Oak school to check if the recent expansion had any impact on traffic. 

The weekend began on Saturday evening, leaving just enough energy to check out some of the Birmingham Weekender on Sunday. Pity the poor BBC Digital guy who started talking coding to the girls with physics degrees.

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