Who you gonna call 

By Blair Mcpherson | 10 February 2020

As a director you come out of a senior team meeting to be given two urgent messages. One is from the leader and the other is from the chief executive both telling you to ring immediately you come out of your meeting. Who do you ring first? Your answer will say a lot about relations at the top of the organisation. If they were aware of your dilemma both would expect you to ring them first. This reflects the fact that there are two people running this organisation. They have separate roles but there is overlap and these roles play out differently in different local authorities. Therefore there isn’t a right answer your judgement is based on your knowledge of the individuals and the culture within the organisation. 

Your decision may be influenced by what you think they want to talk to you about. You quickly run through in your mind your list of known problems. That leaves the unknown problems. Has one of your managers been holding back or downplaying something that has blown up? Is it more likely to be a problem with next year’s budget proposals, it being that time of year? Of course it could be a press enquiry that’s got them rattled they want to know how a journalist knows and they don’t. These days it could be a financial scandal to do with outsourcing contacts, young girls in care being groomed as part of a sex ring, a county lines drug investigation, it could even be an historic abuse investigation involving residential care staff. Even when you are reasonably confident you are on top of things something from the past can return to bite you.

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