"I’ve felt my confidence grow over the time that I’ve been here and I hope that this continues."
Working at London Borough of Lambeth
Studied BA Linguistics at UCL and MA Language and Cultural Diversity at King’s College London
Advice? Be open minded about the work that you take on. One of the first projects that I was asked to work on involved assisting reconciliation work with our GP partners in the borough. I initially thought that this sounded like a straightforward task around filling in a spreadsheet and collecting payments. In reality, I had to liaise with practices across the borough, analyse their service delivery levels, forecast future spending and identify possible areas for savings to be made from future contracts. The project turned out to be quite strategic and a valuable bit of experience, but if I’d stuck to my first impression I would have missed out.
How have you changed? I’ve felt my confidence grow over the time that I’ve been here and I hope that this continues. There were times when I first started where I didn’t feel able to speak up in some meetings with senior colleagues, choosing instead to share my thoughts with my manager afterwards. She encouraged me to start speaking up in meetings and since I’ve started contributing more I’ve had good responses – people value our input as graduates and once I realised this I was able to be much more involved.
Favourite projects? I’ve conducted a review of our Emergency Duty Team which involved working with colleagues from across Children’s Social Care and Adult Social Care. I’ve also gotten to work with Age UK Lambeth and the London College of Communication on a screening and assessment tool for the Adult Social Care website. Both projects have been fantastic because they’ve involved collaboration with a variety of stakeholders, but they also contrast starkly with one another. It’s this variety that keeps me motivated and engaged.
What about your development? I’ve been challenged right from the start and responsibility has been given to me at a level that I didn’t expect. I’ve been trusted to lead on a restructure and have been involved in all aspects of this, from writing the business case, to attending consultations, liaising with finance and putting together the consultation pack for colleagues. Having ownership of my placement and projects has encouraged me to drive my own development, rather than expecting it to be steered by others.
Any impact that your placement made on the service or council either financial or enabling transformation? I’m really pleased to have been involved with delivering a £60k saving to the council through a restructure without any redundancies. This is significant at a time where budgets are tight and staff can be wary of change projects, so it’s been a successful project.