Just the job

30th March 2001 at 01:00
YYesterday I was in Harlow all day, for an update-meeting with the Single Regeneration Budget (European Union grants) project director. Then I moved on to a business partnership group; then to a headteacher working group about the social inclusion fund; then a meeting with heads about study support and out-of-hours learning - I deal with the action zones, private finance initiatives, standards funding, SRB I'm the joined-up-thinking person.My job is to ensure that the county has a co-ordinated approach. It's not just about raising standards - there are issues about community well-being.

There are action zones in Basildon and Harwich, as well as the virtual-zone, but I'm also involved in the Waltham Abbey, Canvey and Harlow zones. There is an equal distribution of effort and energy, whether it's an action zone or not. In any one week I might go to all five places.

Part of my job is to watch action-zone planning for next year and report to colleagues who may be able to develop a servicelevel agreement tailored to action zones' needs, which may result in a zone buying into a county's services.

At a strategic level I come from the needs side and the county has another officer who looks at organisational and structural issues. He and I will work with the different service areas to try to produce some real gains for a locality. Certainly in Clacton and Harlow that feels like it's starting to happen.

Whenever a family makes contact with a school in the Clacton area, the school will be able to hand them a pack, which will give them a guide to child-minders, doctors' surgeries, housing benefit all the first points of contact that any family would need, specific to their locality.

If I do my job effectively I should be invisible and eventually superficial to the process. I'm here to set up the routes, the processes and the structures to enable support to happen where it's needed. Eventually thenetworks should continue without me.

Interview: Phil Revell


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