Agenda item

Introduction from Nikki Edwards, Executive Director: People

Introduction from Nikki Edwards, Executive Director: People.  An opportunity to update the Panel and share her vision on her role as Executive Director for People’s Directorate and to introduce the leadership team.


Nikki Edwards, Executive Director: People gave an introduction, shared her vision on her role as Executive Director for People’s Directorate and introduced the leadership team.


The People Directorate structure was outlined:


·         Nikki Edwards Executive Director: People


·         Tony Dwyer, currently the Locality Manager for Mental Health Services in Bracknell but his post will become Interim Assistant Director for Mental Health and Out of Hours Services.


·         Melanie O’Rourke, Assistant Director: Adult Social Care Operations. Manages learning disabilities, mental health, older people, long term conditions, and integrated services.


·         Hannah Doherty, currently Interim Joint Assistant Director Early Help and Communities but from March 2019 will be Head of Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.


Other members of the directorate working in children’s and adult’s services were unable to be at the Panel meeting as they were working on a time bound Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI).  Those colleagues were:


·         Rachel Morgan, Assistant Director: Education and Learning


·         Thom Wilson Joint Assistant Director: Commissioning


·         Sonia Johnson Assistant Director: Children’s Social Care Operations.


Nikki Edwards, Executive Director: People outlined the process of how the Directorate had come together and explained:

·         The People directorate brought together Adult and Children’s services.

·         The implementation date was 01 September 2018.

·         The new team had looked at synergies where the two services worked together.

·         They had held on to social care specialists, with Tony Dwyer, Locality Manager looking at emergency mental health services and out of hours. 

·         Gill Vickers, Executive Director: Delivery retained some services in the Delivery Directorate such as the emergency duty service, Forest Care and the Heathlands development.


There were 2 vision statements, that had to be blended and a draft vision for the new Directorate was now produced.

It was explained that people were at the heart of their services and there was a total commitment to the residents of the Borough.

The new vision matched the Council’s plan and priorities.


Nikki Edwards, Executive Director: People described the draft vision statement was in two parts.  The first part explained to service users why they were there, to:

·         Protect you from harm if you need us

·         Help you to get support so that you can be physically and
emotionally healthy

·         Work with you and your community to help you to be independent
and resilient


Nikki Edwards, Executive Director People, explained that her team:

·         Prided themselves in good, strong and effective services and wanted outstanding service across the whole People Directorate by focussing on quality.

·         Wanted to integrate services with partners and work closely with those partners to make services seamless. 

·         Would enhance and continue daily working with partners. 

·         Wanted to provide information and choice and focus on what is important.


The second part of the vision explained how they would do it by:

·         Focusing on quality practice

·         Integrating services with partners

·         Providing information & choice

·         Focusing on what is most important


The draft vision had been stated, shared and was being worked to,


The next steps for the development of the Directorate were outlined.

·         Of note, the JTAI inspection was delaying progress for at least 3 weeks.

·         The heads of services sitting beneath the Children’s Services Assistant Directors were at risk under a restructure.

·         The adults’ side, heads of service will be looked at to ensure alignment between the two.

·         After that, the next step would be to look at the team that sits underneath the heads of services.

·         The focus was on early help and prevention which were key.

·         There was an opportunity to look at housing and benefits and to look at the Children’s element.  Family hubs had been launched based around children’s centres which could be enhanced and adult’s services added within a locality.


Nikki Edwards, Executive Director: People stated that she was really privileged to be part of the team.    She explained that the portfolio covered 2/3 of the Council and that quality, consistency and opportunity were key elements of the future development of the directorate.


ACTION: Kirstine Berry, Governance and Scrutiny Co-ordinator to provide the draft Vision Statement and key points of contact and Directorate structure to the Panel.


Nikki Edwards, Executive Director; People thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to introduce her team and to speak about the new People Directorate to the Panel.


Arising from questions from Members it was explained that:

·         A workforce plan was key to the People Directorate.  The Directorate was people related and the workforce was a priority.

·         The Human Resources (HR) business partner was Paul Young.  He worked with the team on workforce planning which covered social work right through to mental health services.

·         The skill set within the workforce was broad.

·         Recruitment and retention was particularly important in children’s social work.

·         It was noted that Children’s Overview and Scrutiny had been really helpful in recruiting quality professionals.

·         There were still recruitment areas that provided challenge such as recruiting mental health professionals where it was important not to lose the balance between local knowledge and professional experience.

·         A successful children’s inspection had caused as spike in vacancy rates as staff had moved to other local authorities to become the next leaders and this made continual vacancy levels challenging.

·         Bracknell Forest was considered a good place to work and there were high levels of interest in job vacancies.

·         The leadership and management had been targeted and more training had been provided 

·         Recruitment of mental health professionals nationally was a problem with many current professionals retiring, but Bracknell Forest had recruited young, inspiring social workers and was looking at different professions to undertake the role too such as nursing and occupational therapy.

·         It was stated that Bracknell Forest Council is a positive place to work with motivated staff.  Ideas from staff  were capitalised on to improve. 

·         Using the Council’s values and behaviours framework should be used to attract people to the organisation, and working on those behaviours was key.

·         The Family Hub launched on 1 December 2018.  Initially staff required reassurance but only 2 months later, the hubs can support the whole family in the community and are integrated with housing and welfare.  The Council’s values and behaviours are being demonstrated. 

·         Any further detail about recruitment and retention could be provided by Paul Young, the HR business Partner if the Panel required.


The Chairman gave thanks to the People Directorate team for attending the Panel.