Our Day Heroes – Tim Aldridge, Corporate Director of Children’s Services at the London Borough of Newham
Social care is one of the key services provided by any local authority. As part of our efforts to paint a picture of the full spectrum of Council life this Our Day, Penna talked to Corporate Director of Children’s Services Tim Aldridge about his work in the London Borough of Newham.
So Tim, can you tell us what your day-to-day looks like?
I’m Corporate Director of Children’s Services at the London Borough of Newham. My role has responsibility for education and social care for children and young people within our community.
I’ve only been at Newham for 6 weeks! But my role is about sitting on the new corporate management team which is currently being formed to guide the borough. Indeed, I was actually in a management meeting this morning.
A large focus of my role is leading the improvement of Children’s Services. For the department, I set the clear direction of travel. It’s all about having a vision for improving the lives of children and young people in Newham. Key to this is partnership working, and we’re also making a really big investment in our workforce. Empowering our staff to deliver an excellent service to children and families is at the heart of my role.
How do you feel your work makes a difference?
I guess that it’s about clear leadership, and developing a good culture. It’s about valuing everyone’s contribution and setting the right climate in the workplace so that we can make a difference.
We’re really focussed on creating a restorative culture. This has meant celebrating successes and learning from mistakes without recriminations. My role is to give people clear direction and to set a tone and a climate that means we get the best out of our staff.
Thanks Tim. Tell us about the impact your see the broader Council having.
Newham has a really ambitious programme of work under our Mayor. The Council has a number of key priorities, including community building and giving local people access to great life opportunities. Essentially, it’s about securing a fair deal for anyone in the Newham community.
I also see us making great local strides to tackle the climate emergency. We’re taking a systems leadership role on improving the quality of air in the borough for instance. And of course, there’s a huge focus on the outcomes for young people. Those who are affected by youth safety issues have been particularly prioritized.
And finally, what do you see on the horizon for local government?
For me it’s about asking ‘how do we evolve local government?’, while continuing to engage the local community. Positively, we’re becoming ever more focussed on outcomes. We also need to continue working hard to draw in the very best talent. Local government can and should present itself as a creative, innovative and exciting career opportunity.