I’m Tom Hindmarch, I joined iNetwork as a Stakeholder Engagement Manager at the beginning of January. I have the role of co-ordinating the Transforming and Innovating Public Services (TIPS) programme for the iNetwork partnership.
It has been a busy first month in the role and on Friday 28th January I had the opportunity to organise the Network Leadership Group (NLG) meeting for the TIPS programme on, the aim of the meeting was to consider the priorities for delivery in 2022/23. This was the first NLG meeting that I have been involved in and there were also a couple of welcome additions to the leadership group Phil Christian, Acting Head of Business Change at Cheshire East Council and Lauren Rastall, Strategic Support Officer at Sefton Council.
Following introductions from the group, Shelley Heckman updated on the activity and what had been delivered against the priorities in quarter three. Shelley highlighted successful events that iNetwork delivered such as ‘Digitalising Discharge to Assess – Meeting Oldham’s Local Needs’ and ‘Bring Your Own Device Roundtable’.
The group then moved on to the main agenda item reviewing the current priorities for TIPS and thinking ahead to delivery in 2022/23. Members were invited to discuss each priority and identify aspects that needed to be changed or subject matters that could be included as we look to slightly alter the focus for 2022/23 delivery. The TIPS programme covers many different themes, so the conversation around the priorities was wide-ranging.
The consensus of the group was that the overarching priorities remain the same for 2022-23. These are:
– People and Place
– Digital Innovation
– Culture and Wellbeing
In discussion, the NLG raised several new issues and themes within the public sector that have come up over the past 12 months that were not fully reflected within the sub priorities. The following is an overview of the discussion:
TIPS 1.0: People & Place
This priority supports iNetwork’s members to creatively find people-centred sustainable solutions and approaches to navigate and access local public assets.
A number of members noted that levelling up, economic recovery and changes of use within town and cities centres had become increasingly important and needed to be reflected within the sub priorities. Furthermore, strategies, communities and their links to infrastructure more generally were highlighted as a potential focus moving forward.
The group stated that communications and engagement were currently not reflected within the priorities and the group agreed that in light of the pandemic this theme had become increasingly relevant to the TIPS programme. Pressures and changes in customer service have also been raised in many stakeholder meetings that I have had with several councils in my first few weeks.
The green and net zero agenda was also mentioned in discussion and whether it was something that should be reflected within the priorities. The green agenda is currently an area of focus for the CPC programme, led by my colleague Hannah Gains, so there is potential for cross programme collaboration as net zero is inherently linked with people and place.
TIPS 2.0: Digital Innovation
This priority supports iNetwork’s members to deliver the intelligence and prevention agenda by developing capabilities to make better-informed decisions and utilising digital technology to improve lives.
The group were in agreement that this priority remains relevant heading into 2022/23 and only a few minor tweaks were needed to the wording and focus of the priority. The group raised that there is a need for discussions on data, in particular how data was used and how the quality of data was managed. In addition, it was noted that many of the sub priorities were outward looking and not focussed on internal digital innovation and systems change.
TIPS 3.0 Culture and Wellbeing
This priority supports iNetwork’s members to develop organisational change to achieve successful outcomes in the things that matter most to people, organisations and communities.
The group agreed culture and wellbeing should be a strong focus for TIPS in 2022/23, with working from home making significant changes to work life balance and how the public sector operates. It was noted a lot had changed since this priority was drafted and that the wording needed to be tweaked to reflect that. The group discussed at length that although WFH offers more flexibility, it isn’t necessarily good for wellbeing. With many members, noting meeting fatigue, with back to back online meetings throughout the day becoming the norm for many senior staff.
The engaged conversation with the leadership group has provided me with a number of ideas for events going forward, it was great to get some on the ground insight for the TIPS programme. Over the next few weeks, I shall consider all the suggestions put forward by the Leadership Group and integrate them into the current priorities ready for delivery in 2022/23.
Over the last few months, both the Connected Procurement & Commissioning (CPC) Programme and Effective Information Sharing & Security (EISS) programme have considered their existing priorities with Shelley and Hannah currently in the process of finalising their programme focus ahead of 2022/23. In the next few weeks, all the priorities across the programmes will be finalised and published in our annual prospectus. We cannot wait to share the finalised priorities with our members as we look ahead to a new year of delivery.