5th October issue

Beyond the squeeze

Don’t let recession kill the drive to innovate.

Innovating in times of uncertainty can be a pretty tall order, particularly if management is already hinting that belt tightening is imminent. We’re already hearing of organisations terrorising their staff with the threat of budget cuts, and the mere process of managers acknowledging that they need to prove cost savings to their board can translate to debilitating fear of job losses in the ranks.

Staff at Swanswell in Birmingham are no more immune to the economic climate than anyone else, but they seem determined to turn the current situation into a positive challenge (page 14). ‘If you have a good idea, have a go – even if you risk failing,’ their chief executive urges. And the ideas that come forth might only seem small, but they can have a big impact on clients as well as staff morale.

What’s important is that they’re not being told ‘no investment in new projects right now’. Without getting all ‘Pollyanna’ about it, optimism and motivation are paramount when your clients need more than ever to find hope at the door of their services. A culture of despondency cascading down the organisation is unlikely to make staff work smarter. Glyn Davies echoes the sentiment on page 16, calling for a celebration of progress every now and again, alongside facing challenges that can be tougher than ever.

Our cover story looks at an issue that’s as tricky to tackle as alcohol regulation and as difficult to measure as dangerous drinking. Addiction to codeine can take hold before people realise that they’re popping pills every day for more than just a headache – and there’s not much around to help them when they realise they’re hooked. Some doctors are dismissive of codeine dependency at best and can contribute to it at worst, and support groups are struggling to get any attention and funding for a legal addiction. I hope our article will at least help to improve awareness of the over-the-counter problem that’s woefully under acknowledged.

PDF magazine coming soon!