Introducing Jacqui Kennedy
Jacqui Kennedy, Acting Strategic Director for Place wrote:
I have written loads of blogs but none really about myself and my role so I thought it important to give you a little bit of history about me, Jacqui Kennedy.
I have worked for Birmingham City Council (BCC) since I left school in 1979. I was 16 and I had applied for jobs at BCC, Barclays Bank and the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive (my dad was a bus driver). I was interviewed for all three jobs and on the same day I received offers as office junior for each of the organisations applied to.
It was a time when young people were embraced by large organisations and these organisations gave you the training and skills to develop you as an individual without the need to go into further education. This was the post-entry training scheme where non-work ready young people were taken under the wing of the employer and ‘grown’. I chose BCC because it was the nicest letter. That was the best decision of my young life!
In every role I have had with the City Council I have learned from that first contact. I always respond to correspondence (including emails and twitter) politely, acknowledging the author personally, and give them what they ask for if I can, and if that is not possible explain to them why not.
I have also learnt from my first day at work, in 1979. It is so important to welcome colleagues and induct them appropriately. I arrived in the office at 8.45am prompt, left to sit with my coat on, not told where the toilets were and not told when I could go to lunch or go home. My colleagues were just so pleased to have someone to help them clear the backlog. Although a rocky start some of my colleagues from that first day though remain my lifelong friends.
I am now honoured to hold the position of Acting Strategic Director (Place), having previously held roles throughout the city council as supervisor, manager and now in a strategic leadership position. However, I believe in distributive leadership, and I have been determined to act as a leader at every level and we all should! Leadership is essential at all levels, leaders of ideas, leaders of projects, leaders of teams etc. leadership comes in many guises.
As a City Council we face an unprecedented financial challenge. To respond to the challenges we must change culturally and behaviourally as an organisation. The future council programme and our approach to managing demand, collaborating in partnership, being true to our word is essential to support us to do this and ensure that we make a valid contribution to our city and our citizens.
As Acting Strategic Director I have leadership responsibility for an eclectic and wide ranging portfolio of services including Fleet and Waste Management, Housing, Highways, Regulatory Services, Bereavement Services, Markets, District Services, Parks, Sports and Events and Equality, Community Safety and Cohesion. I also have strategic leadership for the Birmingham City Council hosted Illegal Money Lending Service for England and the Regional Scambusters team.
What am I going to do to help and what will it say in My Appraisal?
- I aim to drive down demand by getting it right first time, saying sorry when we don’t and putting it right going forward. I want to ensure that all of our services get it right first time every time and that we improve the quality of life of all of our citizens as much as we can.
- I want to personally contribute through the services I oversee to make every neighbourhood a sustainable neighbourhood that people want to live in and take pride in.
- I want to ensure that where we can we enable people to live independently in these neighbourhoods by improving community safety outcomes for citizens. We can only achieve this by working with our partners: together we can and do make a real and positive difference.
When I came into post I made three promises;
- embed the wheelie bin service for Birmingham and deliver the cleaner streets that the people of Birmingham deserve. This is only achievable in partnership with our residents.
- Working with partners to develop a Comprehensive Housing for Birmingham. Working with local providers and developing sustainable neighbourhoods for all to live in and be proud of. This is only achievable in partnership.
- Link our highway infrastructure with the economic development of the city, through connectivity of people to training, development jobs and opportunities to develop their skills.
I love being a public servant and working to deliver high quality services to our citizens. I love working every day with amazing people, be they partner colleagues, our politicians, our staff or our citizens who are always offering to help.
I have a real pride in the city of my birth and I am committed to ensuring that all of our services within the Place Directorate and across the City Council add value and improve the quality of life to our citizens.
Place services are high profile: right in the front line and at the sharp end – personally there is nowhere else I would rather be.
In the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (I was named after his beautiful wife Jacqueline) “Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other”. Every day I aim to learn something new!