It’s not all working from home, but in historical buildings and on trains too!

Jovian Smalley, Engagement Manager
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing 

My working weeks at the Centre are always different; this is one of the things that I really enjoy about working here.  And I never thought I would get to work at a building that is over 350 years old! Working at the Centre, is not just about the choice locations we can often work from, but the work we do whilst there.

This week, on the train to London, I drafted the agenda for an engagement team meeting. We travel a lot and the train often becomes your office. Once in the capital I attended a working group meeting with other Centre staff, to help design our organisational values to underpin our work. This is another unique element of working for the Centre; everyone who works there has the opportunity to shape how the Centre forms and works. Following this meeting I met with our Director, Stephen Curtis to update him on my progress on work with Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES). A local place I am working with to help with their information sharing barriers. The Centre’s management team are approachable and really encourage us to meet and share our work.

Once back home,  the next day saw me attending a meeting of Early Years staff in Keynsham Civic Centre to discuss information sharing barriers they have encountered when trying to share health information about children in the early years. I caught up with some admin, using our business social media platform, Yammer, to send a message to my engagement team colleagues asking for anything else they want to discuss at a forthcoming team meeting. As we often work a long way from each other, it’s important we use this platform all the time to stay in touch and keep up to date with what’s going on at the Centre. I wrote up the notes from our organisational development meeting in London, before working on a blog I’m writing about information sharing issues in the Troubled Families programme.

I worked from the historic Guildhall in Bath on Wednesday, so I could have a quick update meeting with our lead contact there. Then it was time to get on the phone to my manager and colleagues about the next steps for the Community Services redesign programme that we’re supporting in B&NES. Again, conference calls are an important tool to help us bridge the physical distance between Centre staff.

Over the next couple of days, I caught the train up to Manchester to meet with the other Centre staff supporting B&NES, so we could start planning how we can help to join up the information sharing work happening in several of their divisions. Friday is generally my ‘working from home’ day, although the job always requires a high degree of flexibility. I find it gives me a bit of space and time to reflect on the week and catch up on some reading about national policy developments, which in turn helps me support my local places.

I found a great piece about Systems Leadership which contained insights about how organisational development is a crucial component in improving information sharing, so I posted a link to the article on LinkedIn and Twitter, so I can get my professional networks involved in the conversation. That afternoon, I wrote my monthly engagement journal to record my reflections on what’s been happening in my local places, and what support I need to help them progress their information sharing journey.

As you can see, working at the Centre is always different and you never know where or what you might be working on. However, what is important is keeping a focus on information sharing, we want to help local places to remove their information sharing barriers and this involves us being flexible, travelling and sometimes working in historical buildings!