Wednesday, 25 June 2008

David Murray (London Borough of Newham): Staff roles and qualifications

10 libraries in Newham
Issues going up
Services = lots and innovative
Just do it
4th most deprived borough in the country, but one of the most successful in London
Good enough? No
Incremental change? No. No time!
Why change? Need to deliver corporate priorities, measure impacts, be *seen* to make an impact
Change to:
- New language (e.g. community cohesion)
- Core service specs
- Services that shift, flex, respond
- Corporate service with strong political support and readily understood
- No separate library staff/buildings/service - all housed in a generic service
- No books on shelves? No shelves? Tables with books piled up by subject
- Dewey is useless
- New enquiry service - no desks
- More surgeries for visiting services
Staff skills:
- Passion, people-centred, share core values (smile, say "hello," say "can I help you?")
- Core product knowledge
- Books
- People
- Services
- Place
- Know *why* what you do matters
- Know your impact
- Know your managers' agendas
- Know their managers' agendas too
- Understanding why Members matter
- Understanding of LSP
- Understanding of LAA
- Understanding of CAA
- Understanding of cohesion
Brave new (Newham) world: not for everybody
Find your own way

You probably don't get much of a sense of it from my notes, but this was a presentation clearly designed to shock. Dewey is useless! We won't have our books on shelves! We won't even have shelves!

That's a shame, because I think it turned a lot of people off David's message: define and deliver a service fir for your users. There's not much in the pipeline for Newham, as far as I can tell, that's entirely new: elements of David's plan have been seen before, and there are good examples out there.

And personally, I'm getting heartily tired of this "just do it" thing. It was fine in Lynne Brindley's keynote at Umbrella last year, but it's rapidly become the cliché of choice. Too many people seem to be urging each other to "just do it" rather than actually doing it.