Monday, 14 January 2013

The Odanglesex Chronicles: Moving on from the Pond

From time to time in amongst the reposted and revised Odanglesex adventures, I get a new idea. Recently that was the tale of Lord Pond's council credit card. Of course, Odanglesex's Chief Executive, leading from the front, was bound to comment on the affair.


The blog of Chief Executive Edelbertha Spengler


Are you one of those people who open a credit card statement, whether it's yours or your partner's or your mother's, with just a little fear? Or is is just another chore? Or maybe it's one of those things you just don't get round to doing at all.

I've just had all three of mine and I did feel just a teeny bit worried that someone might have cloned my vital statistics and bought a Caribbean island or even a Government minister from my hard-earned pennies. Cue huge relief. They hadn't. But I was just a bit concerned about £251.79 transferred to someone called Worksop Wonders until I remembered that quick dash to that nice little personal clothing shop at the main station in Birmingham.

Bill Wayneflete and I have just been having a bit of a Worksop moment.

When that chap Lord Pond's council credit card records were routinely published after a Freedom of Information request from Cllr Makepeace (I'm neutral on party political matters, of course, but well, really! Talk about overkill) Bill and I couldn't think how he'd clocked up charges on the card of £1,844.99 at The Fat Chef in Duckworth, Staffordshire. I mean, I distinctly remember I was there myself monitoring expenditure as I do all the time and I spent only £737.06, which hardly gets you past the soup.

Then I remembered! Duckworth! We were there for the annual meeting of the Deep Probe Audit Foundation and I was busy drafting my speech! I distinctly remember spilling a small amount of vanilla and entrail sauce on it. So I really don't know what poor old Lord Pond spent all that money on, but really it's a long time ago and in another country (sorry - county) and it would be good for everyone if we just moved on.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Don't forget to pay your credit card issuer before they land you with interest!


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Odanglesex Revisited: Green Odanglesex (3)

Concluding, with an amazing twist, the tale of greening Odanglesex - a report with added words for no extra price!!!

FROM: Sam Speed, Emergency Social Work Co-ordinator

TO: Silesia Jones, Equality and Diversity Beacon Consultant

Hi! Have all the kettles disappeared from your kitchen too?

FROM: Silesia Jones

TO: Sam Speed

Yes. It's a bummer. Terry's trying to find out what's happened.

FROM: Sam Speed

TO: Silesia Jones

Especially as I work nights and the water heater is set to go off at 5.

FROM: Hamish Carpenter, Transformational Excellence Manager

TO: Calandra Larkins, Spatial Diversification Officer (Upper)
Don Coggins, Hard Systems Manager (Core)


People on B11 have been asking what happened overnight to the kettle in our kitchen. It was a new one twelve people clubbed together to buy three weeks ago. We thought it might have been stolen or accidentally taken out and not replaced, but then both Sam Speed in the Emergency Social Work Team and Caradoc MacNab in Finance contacted people in my team because their kettles had vanished. The only information I've been able to get so far is that Dale Brashcon said he understood it was a sub-milestone on the Green Odanglesex Strategy. Calandra - you're our green person, so are you in the know?

FROM: Calandra Larkins

TO: Hamish Carpenter

cc: Don Coggins

This is news to me. Don?

FROM: Don Coggins

TO: Hamish Carpenter
Calandra Larkins

In pursuance of the Green Odanglesex Strategy, Safety Considerations and the Odanglesex Values Statement, all unauthorised hand-held electric water heating devices positioned in O.C.C. kitchens have been removed. A supply of hot water is accessible from the static water heaters situated in each kitchen.

The business case for this intervention is as follows:

1: The non-availability of hand-held electric water heating devices will reduce incidence of personal water heating activity and hence impact on our carbon footprint.

2: The static water heaters are more efficient.

3: A Safety Audit identified hand-held water heating devices as a health and safety risk because of the possibility of hot water product interacting with human extremities.

FROM: Calandra Larkins

TO: Don Coggins

Don: thanks.

As Green Odanglesex Champion (Core), I feel I should have been consulted, or at least warned, about action taken under the heading of the Green Odanglesex Strategy. By the way - is there a sound basis for stating that the static water heaters are more energy efficient? Also - where's our kettle gone? It's not OCC property.

FROM: Don Coggins

TO: All Directors and Heads of Unit

Please cascade the following water technology information. All unauthorised personal hand-held water heating devices seized from O.C.C. kitchens and marked with personal identification may be accessed for recovery at the O.C.C. Business Technology Pool at Ogden Hall (link to map). After this Wednesday they will be transited to the Odanglesex East Central Recycling Facility at Day's Grange for landfill.

FROM: Oliver Oldknoll, Innovatory Best Practice Exemplar Workforce Manager

TO: Anne Hathaway, Internal Finance Systems Development Officer


As I hadn't heard anything about another meeting of the Green working group on which we're both champions, I e-mailed Calandra to find out what was going on. The e-mail bounced back. Apparently she's no longer with the council. I tried Chris Van Hummel. He's vanished too. I've e-mailed their boss, Brett, asking who's taken over their roles and had no reply. At least to my knowledge he hasn't vanished, though (forget it). Have you heard anything? Who's picking this up?

FROM: Anne Hathaway

TO: Oliver Oldknoll

No-one, apparently. Rob Methuen did suggest we wait a year or so until the next green initative and then ask again. LOL. I don't think.


We are especially proud in Odanglesex with our transformational journey leading into a step change to become a Green County. In the last eighteen months we've embedded a Green Odanglesex Strategy, appointed external and internal Green Odanglesex champions and given our internal work pathways a thorough audit and shake-up through a volunteer Green Odanglesex Working Group. Of course the award of the title of Green Place of the Year was a triumph for all the people who have worked so hard to make our Strategy a reality. More innovatory still was our employee positive message tagging initiative...

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Odanglesex Revisited: Green Odanglesex (2)

Continuing the reposted, improved (hopefully) tale of Odanglesex's aspirational striving to be green.

FROM: Calandra Larkins, Spatial Diversification Officer (Upper)

TO: Reema Narlikar, Hilary Hannah, Rob Methuen, Alex Knollys, Tom Kydd, Chris Marlowe, Anne Hathaway, Frances Hogg, Oliver Oldknoll, Samantha Macgillivray, Chris Van Hummel


I thought that was a fantastic meeting yesterday! I hope you felt the same. The first analyses of energy use across County Hall will be e-mailed to all employees next week, so please look out for them and in particular any hot-spots which show particular offices or work-stations have items such as printers or monitors left on overnight. The word is diplomacy, though. Fights are energy-intensive.

Sorry this e-mail comes from me apparently with my Spatial Diversification hat on. Internal Comms haven't been able yet to change my title on e-mails to include Green Odanglesex Champion (Core). They did say a new identity could be set up, but then apparently the system would insist on paying me twice.

Roll on the next meeting!

FROM: Kenneth Spotlessnob, Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Transformational Excellence and Strategic Vision

TO: Dale Brashcon, Transformational Excellence Champion

Dale: Kelly's pointed out these maps of energy hot-spots to me. I understand a Green Odanglesex Champions' Working Group has been set up with all directorates represented. Who's our rep?

FROM: Dale Brashcon

TO: Kenneth Spotlessnob


Apparently it's Reema Narlikar in Hamish's team.

FROM: Kelly Pattrick, PA to Kenneth Spotlessnob

TO: Reema Narlikar, Transformational Excellence Officer

Reema: Kenneth would like to see you tomorrow at 10 about Green Odanglesex.

FROM: Reema Narlikar



I know you're in Moldova, but if I know u, checking your emails and losing your texts. So here goes. I'm spitting blood and want a shoulder to cry on. Yeah, OK, no-one really wants blood on their shoulder, but on your tshirts it won't show.

You remember I volunteered for TESV's Greek champion. Well, KSnob called me in and pointed out that everyone in the directorate could see on that map that he was leaving his monitor on and the printer in his office was being left on too. Of course, it was nothing to do with any embarrasment he might experience, but wasn't this kind of over-personal information likely to cause trouble? I pointed out that it was the same with all directorates and Calandra was in charge. He said he'd have a word with Brett and Simeon.

He also asked how much time I was giving to this role. I think if I'd said 0.1% of my time he'd have implied that was too much. Of course, he lost the turf battle to get Internally Greening Odanglesex into TESV.

Green, not Greek.

Beam me up Scotty.


FROM: Calandra Larkins

TO: Reema Narlikar, Hilary Hannah, Rob Methuen, Alex Knollys, Tom Kydd, Chris Marlowe, Anne Hathaway, Frances Hogg, Oliver Oldknoll, Samantha Macgillivray, Chris Van Hummel

Fellow champs:

Just to let you know that the maps of out-of-hours energy use will now not show individual workstations.

To be concluded...

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Odangflesex Revisited: Green Odanglesex (1)

Another reposted and improved Odanglesex adventure - this time greening the county!

FROM: Edelbertha Spengler, Chief Executive and Directional Excellence Champion

TO: Simeon Lascelles, Director of Spatial Exploration and Direction Management

Kenneth Spotlessnob, Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Transformational Excellence and Strategic Vision

cc: Conor O'Connor, Director of Human Resources Development

Hi, both! I thought I should let you know that I've concluded the outward-facing and inward-facing functions of our Green Odanglesex journey should benefit from unified management. This means that both functions will be housed in the same directorate and as we previously agreed that the outward-facing officer should be in SEDM, it follows that the inward-facing function will be there too.

The consequences of this are the creation of one post of Outward-facing Green Odanglesex Champion in SEDM at NOAH(2) and the allocation of an 0.4 fte officer also at NOAH(2) from that directorate to the inward-facing role (to be achieved by internal efficiencies), this officer while acting in this role to be referenced as "Inward-facing Green Odanglesex Champion".


FROM: Calandra Larkins, Spatial Diversification Officer (Upper)

TO: Brett West, Head of Modernisation and Business Practice

Brett: I was delighted to be given the remit for greening OCC internally and to learn that I'd be working with Chris Van Hummel so that our promotion work with partners and stakeholders will be dancing to the same tune as our internal work. If I can speak personally, it's so much more exciting than that personal waste recycling promotion work I was going to be taking on. You know how committed I am to green causes.

This is to let you know that if that's acceptable, I can start on the new reponsibilities next week - one week early.

FROM: Brett West

TO: Calandra Larkins

Thanks for this, Calandra. Just to note that on reconsideration after a chat with Goneril Hayes, Simeon and I felt that the title of "Inward-facing Green Odanglesex Champion" gave the wrong impression, as OCC is outward-facing and customer-focused at all times. You will therefore be referred to in this role as "Green Odanglesex Champion (Core!)".

FROM: Brett West

TO: Calandra Larkins

That should of course read "(Core)".

FROM: Calandra Larkins

TO: Reema Narlikar, Hilary Hannah, Rob Methuen, Alex Knollys, Tom Kydd, Chris Marlowe, Anne Hathaway, Frances Hogg, Oliver Oldknoll, Samantha Macgillivray, Chris Van Hummel

Fantastic! I had almost no trouble at all getting volunteers to take on being Green Odanglesex Champions. It was a bit harder finding a suitable date, but the most popular was the morning of 3 May, so I've booked the Pond Conference Room for 10-11.30. Look forward to seeing you all! Well, nearly all.


Hi again!

Did you have a mother who kept urging you to eat your greens? I did. Now I urge her to do the same.

Eating more vegetables isn't only good for you (unless you eat huge amounts of them already, of course) but also good for the planet because growing vegetables uses up far less energy than growing meat. I thought I'd point that out because we're now making a major push to relaunch our Green Odanglesex Strategy and everyone should be thinking about how to contribute to greening the planet and in particular Odanglesex. Our aspiration is to be the greenest county in England.
If you have any bright ideas, please drop a line to Calandra Larkins, our new Geeen Odanglesex Champion (Core)!

Meanwhile I'll be making sure I re-use ALL my shoes!

Bye for now!


(The Green Odanglesex Strategy should just be plain sailing now, shouldn't it? To be continued)

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Odanglesex Revisited: The Agile Stationery Strategy (6)

So back to reposting old Odanglesex adventures with a few improvements - here the long-running saga of rationaising stationery processes.

ED'S JOB - the blog of Chief Executive Edelbertha Spengler

Hello again! Isn't it marvellous to see all the flowers coming out? It's Spring!!!

When we think of Spring, of course all sorts of things come to mind - lambs, flowers, birds, greenery, summer clothes, finalising accounts and spring cleaning.

Sometimes we collect loads of stuff we don't really need. For example, a recent check of OCC internet activity showed that some employees were registered with seven or more jobsearch sites! When my old grandma, bless her, died, we found her cupboard stacked with 1,823 empty yoghurt pots, and she didn't even eat yoghurt.

My teenage daughter doesn't really "get" spring cleaning, tidying or throwing unimportant things away. So her room is a mountain of stuff and before long if we don't step in she'll be trapped in there, let alone unable to find things she needs in a hurry, though I've no idea what those could be. What's more, she collects stuff that IS useful and forgets and buys more of them and then can't find them.

It's the same with us at work. You've probably seen that we've placed a stop on most stationery orders until we reduce our overstocking without getting into understocking. We need stocking that just fits. Everything should be accessible. So get out there and make use of all that stationery that's mouldering in your offices!

Now I'm just going to write a note to myself on that notepad I found at the bottom of one of my drawers...

FROM: Neil Balderson, Senior Transformational Excellence Manager

TO: Kenneth Spotlessnob, Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Transformational Excellence and Strategic Vision


I really would like to report that I've been able to make progress with the business case for the winding up of the Bank of Odanglesex Lord Pond Commemorative Fund, but I'm being distracted by complaints from junior officers about the stationery situation. It seems that some of them still make use of biros and staplers, and also that mouse mats and other computer accessories are categorised as stationery, along with printer cartridges. Hamish Carpenter has attempted to second-guess the A4Page analysis of our stationery reserves and he claims that at least three-quarters of them consist of items hardly now used if at all, such as bottles of tippex, indiarubbers and even tracing paper.

Would it be acceptable just to dump some of this stuff and then request a reassessment of our reserves?

FROM: Kenneth Spotlessnob

TO: Neil Balderson

Sorry, Neil, your ingenious suggestion is against our Business Procedures Manual and also our Green Odanglesex Charter.

FROM: Magog Jones, Director of Transportation and Settlement

TO: Germaine Custer, Director of Children Transformation

O.K. Gerry, it's a deal. 1,500 boxes of standard size staples for thirteen packets of A3 copier paper with one magnifying glass thrown in.

FROM: Kay Farmer, Head of Member Services

TO: Edelbertha Spengler


Given the absence of notebooks and of recording devices, do you think members will notice if the Oversight of Garden Walls and Hedges meeting isn't minuted for a few months?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Odanglesex Chronicles: Lord Pond's Credit Card

FROM: Kenneth Spotlessnob, Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Transformational Excellence, Strategic Vision and Directional Signposting

TO: Edelbertha Spengler, OBN, Chief Executive


Just to alert you that a Right to Know request has come in from Cllr Makepeace of the Undrezing First group on the Council for a full breakdown of Cllr Pond's expenses on his OCC credit card while he was Leader. I've had one of my people conducting an overview of the available information and there may be one or two items that could give the wrong impression.


FROM: Edelbertha Spengler
TO: Kenneth Spotlessnob.

Thanks, Kenneth. Like what?

FROM: Kenneth Spotlessnob
TO; Edelbertha Spengler

Like, unfortunately, to cynical people, that he might have been funding from public money expenses which were not fully justified in the public interest.

FROM: Edelbertha Spengler
TO: Kenneth Spotlessnob

No, which items might be questioned?

FROM: Edelbertha Spengler
TO: Kenneth Spotlessnob

Kenneth - many thanks for coming to see me in response to my request. I agree the visit to Bali with eight friends seems a bit borderline. Is Bali doing anything particularly exciting and innovative in local government? Perhaps you could put a policy officer or two on to this.

As for the golf course, I can see this being criticised, but we had the advice of the Council's Health at Work Advisor and the Head of Emergency Planning and Rational Decision-making under Abnormal Circumstances. The former advised that the health of the Leader would suffer if he could not play golf regularly and the latter advised that as the Leader of such a large and high-profile authority might well be a terrorist target, the only way of him playing golf safely was to buy him his own golf course. I am informed that we are now taking steps to open the course to the general public on appropriate payment being made.

No, I don't think it's necessary to commission any research on Cllr Makepeace. Bill Wayneflete says he knows him rather well.



Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Message

I would like to share with you all the immortal words of the Panamanian Christmas Song:

I wish you a merry isthmus
I wish you a merry isthmus
I wish you a merry isthmus
And a crappy new year!