Who are you talking to?

By Blair McPherson | 07 October 2019

It was part one of an interview for the post of director. Part two , if you made it that far, was with the members. Part one was an interview with the chief executive of the local authority and the chief executive of the local NHS acute trust. I was surprised, not by this symbol of partnership working but by the fact that these two individuals had a familiarity in the way they interacted that clearly showed they regularly worked together.

It was a surprise because I was working in a very large county council which had four large acute hospitals and one mental heath trust  - therefore five chief executives as a result. My local authority chief executive considered it the job of the director of social services to manage the relationship with the chief executives of  hospital trusts. This was a relationship based on recognising social services was a very junior partner and the only item on the agenda was delayed hospital discharges. What I suddenly realised was that who chief executives and directors talked to was determined by status, but that status was not simply a matter of job title.

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