So long and thanks for all the fish

From: James Cattell/POD/BCC
On: 03/09/2012 12:42
To: Excellent #localgov colleagues

Well, I’m (hopefully) off to London soon to take up a job at the Government Digital Service.  Read about their (soon to be our) work at

But before I go, I want to say thank you to some key people (please share with your teams – too many names & email address to remember)

Frances Cannon + South Birmingham voids & lettings team
I joined as a temp nearly 5 years ago, helping process property viewings & lettings. Quickly started banging my head against the brick wall that is local Government. Frances & the team gave me confidence and helped initiate my into “the council”

Majit Sohal + Ladywood voids & lettings team 
Quick stop over in Ladywood, again as a temp. The diverse team meant the Xmas buffet was amazing! With the exception of Sattie’s cake 😛 (fair play for trying, though)

David Fearn + Hodge Hill & Yardley rent team 
Brilliant team to work with and Abid Hyatt is a v.understanding boss. Considering what we do (debt collection) spirits are always high. Will miss the move to Woodcock street and Ian’s / Wendy’s pun runs 🙂

Glen Knott + People Resourcing & In-Source 
Have put up with me and my constant craving for new projects. Darren & Nadia took the brunt of my rabid nonsense. Thank you both 🙂

Richard Tedd + fellow Change Agents /Specialists 
What a stunning bunch of people the change agents & specialists are! Richard, Sarah & Chandra deserve special praise for helping me through.

Raffaela Goodby + Birmingham BEST 
Without doubt, the work I’m most proud of in Birmingham City Council. Alex, Charlie & Kevin inspired me to become, “Mr.Mind Map”. If you ever need me back, just let me know!!!

Elena Martin + CHAMPS2 
Certainly not the best work I’ve done. But Elena and team deserve praise for putting up with me. As it now transpired, this was the start of my descent into mental health issues.

Dave Allport + Birmingham Energy Savers project 
An amazing project to install photovoltaic cells on housing in Birmingham. Dave is such a focused Project Manager and someone to learn from. Unfortunately, my mental health started to impact my work.

Dawn Flook + Customer First programme 
After briefly returning to the rent team, I was asked to help out with this project. My mental health was becoming a real issue at this point, as I started to suffer hypo-manic attacks. I remember walking into Dawn’s office (programme head) and giving the week long induction 3/10. One day, I walked out of the project and into South Birmingham Mental Heath Trust. Turned out I had, “creative madness” (also know as type II bipolar affect disorder).

Raj Mack + Digital Birmingham colleagues 
I returned to the rent service, convalesced and sorting out my head. Raj asked me to consider helping out with a cool project they were working on. I’m typing up my report on opening the council’s data to the world, as you read this. Many thanks to Raj, Heike, Niki, Surita, Nicola & Annette.

Simon Gray + Social Media working/steering group 
Was led my a bizarre Canadian lady called Debra, when I first joined. But this group of forward thinking individuals are leading the way on social media. The group hasn’t met for a while, but their work speaks for itself  – Special praise to Guy, Geoff & Kaja.

Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay & Transpeople’s employee network 
What can I type?  You lot are a-ma-zing!  I’m now proud to identify as a gay man because of you. Peter, Marie & Amy in particular have inspired me in one way or another. Peter helped me see light at the end of my mental health nightmare. Marie stepped up & took over my role – beautiful & brilliant lady who has growing confidence in her abilities.

Thank you, one & all – its been a pleasure working with you in Birmingham City Council. Hope you’ll have me back at some point, if Joe & I decide to come back to Brum.

Kind regards,
James A.Cattell