January 30, 2014
In early January I had ‘key hole’ surgery in Ward 4D of Glan Clwyd Hospital. I’m not writing to seek sympathy – all that walking and cycling means that I am reasonably fit and as a result appear to have made an almost immediate recovery. I am writing about it because I want to mention the outstanding care I’d received from every member of BCU staff involved with my case.
I arrived in the ward at 7.30am. A nurse greeted me and took me to my bed. She then explained in detail exactly what was going to happen and who I was going to see. Every person I saw was really clear about their role and succinctly and clearly explained their involvement: nurses, anesthetists, the surgeon and support staff were all excellent. Everything happened as I thought it would and I was on my way home by 4pm. I can’t recall a better customer care experience (our own services excepted of course!). My experience is a reminder that we should avoid simplistic conclusions about organisations and their people.
In January we also had the publication of the report of the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery. I think we need to study the report carefully and start acting on some of the really positive recommendations within it, particularly relating to integrating social care and health services, leadership and culture, reducing complexity and improving public service performance. It really would be a missed opportunity if we overlook all this and focus exclusively and simplistically on the report’s recommendation to reorganise local government.
On this particular recommendation we now need to wait for the Welsh Government to decide its position and set our a convincing implementation programme with strong leadership, programme management, milestones, costs and savings. Until this happens we should not be too excited about reorganising councils.
November 12, 2013
Human Trafficking is a particularly despicable crime that we should all be more aware of. To raise awareness and agree actions I chaired a North East Wales Anti-Human Trafficking Conference in Wrexham. The hundred plus people who attended the conference was addressed by Lesley Griffiths AM and the delegates produced an action plan designed to make North Wales a hostile place for human traffickers. The conference closed with a viewing of a very powerful short film, ‘The Trip’, which was being shown in 10 Downing Street at the same time. The film is by Prano Bailey-Bond and I would highly recommend it.
I hosted the Excellence Denbighshire Awards in the Scala, Prestatyn. This is a key annual event for the council when we celebrate the achievement of staff who have done something over and above their job requirements. It was great to see staff from across the council, including schools, being nominated. Last year was a particularly challenging one for many council staff, particularly those who worked so hard to support our residents through the floods and the heavy snowfall. There were too many even to name on the day, but it was an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to all of them.
The budget settlement from the Welsh Government is a lot more challenging than I had expected and it isn’t helped by the Welsh Government’s flawed thinking on ‘protection’. Basically, more that half the budget is so called ‘protected’, which means all the cuts have to be made on only those areas that are not. This is an unsustainable position and will have to change if we are to avoid very deep cuts to valued services. I’ve spent a lot of time in October trying to make this point to Welsh Government.
The opening of the Pont y Ddraig (Rhyl Harbour Bridge) was a very successful event that attracted hundreds of local people. It’s a unique feature and well worth a visit. I understand it looks lovely at night when it’s lit up!