Saturday, 19 April 2014

Drink while you think

From: Closed circuit

Staff at west midlands landlord Accord Group are being taken to the pub in an effort to get their creative juices flowing.

The sessions are intended to generate a bit of lateral thinking and some fresh ideas on improving services. But there is a terrible caveat: alcohol is off the menu. As Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway and Oliver Reed would probably have testified, a little booze can do wonders for creativity. Without it, pubs are little more than stale-smelling hovels with wet carpets and the odd coughing dog. Still - beats the office, doesn’t it?


Inside Housing has been accused of many things, but never of being junk mail. Attempts to get through to the press office of Riverside have been thwarted by their IT department, who seem to have set their spam filters to cut out enquiries from our journalists. So are we loitering in a cyberspace holding pen, alongside Viagra adverts and unbeatable Rolex offers? And does this mean housing is now a dirty word?


Birmingham Council’s housing department has shown a turnaround in recent years, going from zero to three stars in inspections. But council chief executive Stephen Hughes clearly thought performance needed a boost when he sent 30,000 council staff a series of emails urging them to make little butterflies out of paper, complete with folding instructions.

The motivational task - based on the concept that a butterfly flapping its wings can lead to a hurricane on the other side of the world - caused plenty of confusion in offices across Brum. A few hours later, as staff mulled over how the flap of paper wings could help improve tenant services, Mr Hughes sent another email suggesting that on reflection, the stunt was perhaps ‘a bit too wacky’.

‘I’d still encourage all of you to think out of the box for better ways of improving the lives of people in Birmingham,’ he added. Answers on a postcard, please.


News just in of the 10th National Reducing Absence in the Public Sector Conference to be held in September. Delegates will learn how to build a ‘culture of attendance’ and understand the ‘business case’ for having fewer people off sick. Could be interesting if autumn predictions of a full-on swine flu pandemic hit…

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