Huge thanks are in order to all the teams across the Council, NHS Grampian and Bon Accord Care for the massive collective effort put in so swiftly to enable us to take control of operations at Kingsmead Nursing Home following the announcement by the Care Inspectorate that it intended to remove its registration. I visited the home on Friday and it was great to see the teams all working together and the residents all very settled. Well done everyone and a big personal thanks from me to each colleague involved for going above and beyond.
Events at Kingsmead are another example of what we and our partners are capable of when called upon to respond to a crisis. In such situations once routine has been established but before the “emergency” begins to fade in the memory, it is well worthwhile to put a spotlight on what we have we done to ensure we have a good outcome, in order to see if there is something to be captured which we can draw on for business as usual. We’ve had a few situations to deal with recently and for me a few recurring themes resonate with the cornerstones of the Shaping Aberdeen agenda:
- Purpose – the outcome is always at the centre of everything in these situations, and in most cases that outcome is about keeping people safe from harm; everyone involved stays focused on this throughout
- How we behave – in these situations there is a real sense of Team Aberdeen; no silo positions being struck; no seeking permissions to behave as a team or to support the team; everyone caring for each other’s wellbeing throughout, as well as for the wellbeing of our customers; visible senior leadership direction and presence; and in this case a real sense of partnership working across the Council and with NHS Grampian and Bon Accord Care
- How we do our business – we seem to be able to free ourselves from the organisational processes which often threaten to drown us in normal day-to-day working, allowing us to be fleeter of foot
So how do we bottle this stuff and make use of it day-to-day? Some of its already present in the organisation, but we’ve more to do I think:
- Outcomes – the outcomes which the Community Planning Partnership signed up to are now reflected in the Council’s Strategic Plan and Directorates are working on incorporating these into directorate and service plans. Over and above this though, we need to think about how we make the outcomes present in our everyday work lives. For example, how have the outcomes been reflected in your objectives for 17/18? How well do managers cover the outcomes with new colleagues joining a team?
- How we behave – the staff survey picks up four main issues for the organisation; vision, visibility of senior managers, appreciation and recognition and trust. In these crisis situations, senior managers are clearly visible and their presence appears to be welcomed. How do we achieve increased visibility for senior managers outwith these situations without staff feeling invaded? I’ve really appreciated the Lord Provost recognising and celebrating staff efforts over the last couple of years in relation to specific incidents and again staff, managers and trade unions appear to have appreciated this too. So what do we need to do to increase the organisation’s regular use of the “back pat” on the Ideas Hub as an everyday way to recognise a job well done?
- How we do our business – the corporate change programme “Operational Excellence” will be removing many of the institutional processes we’ve locked ourselves into and will release our time to care for the city and its people more.
Our emergency planning responses have certainly been tested over the last six months or so, and it remains important that we continue to be ready to respond in such circumstances. The people we serve depend on us to do no less. But we also need to be aware of how we work day-to-day and find ways to ensure that the spirit and the focus that we summon for an emergency is captured and applied during our normal working week.