Survivors at heart

Posted on August 11, 2015 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off

Richard Kotulecki

RICHARD Kotulecki joined Care of Police Survivors earlier this year as Head of Operations.

He is currently in the middle of reviewing everything that the charity does to ensure that it provides the best service for Survivors.

He talks about why Survivors are COPS’ most important priority and his former career as an amateur sportsman.

What is your role at Care of Police Survivors?
I’ve been tasked by the Trustees to review pretty much everything that the charity does: to make sure that we are providing the best possible service for Survivors, that the charity has the right structure and policies in place and that the charity is compliant and governed soundly.
The role is on a part-time basis initially for a year and by the end of this year, I will have outlined a three-year plan, a strategic plan if you like, on the way forward.
And then around the end of May next year – at the conclusion of my initial year – I will be presenting a report to Trustees saying “following on from that three-year plan, these are the key issues, I think these are the key changes, and my key recommendations”.

What was it that appealed to you about the job?
As a society we take it for granted that people live safely, soundly and happily and that nothing really bad is going to happen to the vast majority of us.
And the reason that’s the case is because there’s a relatively small number of people, men and women, who make it their job to make sure that we are safe and secure and that our society is protected.
And I think that rather like there’s an armed forces covenant in return for the security that the armed forces provide us, I think it is absolutely reasonable that there should be a similar covenant for the police and other emergency services.
In return for the risks they take, putting themselves into harm’s way on our behalf, as a society we should look after these men and women and their families.
Joining COPS was an opportunity to work with an organisation that was trying to meet society’s part of that covenant. In return for the sacrifices they are prepared to make, if tragedy strikes a police officer, then at least society looks after their family and the ones that they leave behind.

How is your relationship with Survivors working?
When I interviewed for the role, one of the things that I presented to both the Trustees and the Survivors I met throughout the interview process was that Survivors were the most important aspect of the charity.
The charity was set up to meet Survivors’ needs so therefore what those needs are and how survivors feel about these are absolutely essential to the way in which COPS works.
And so one of the commitments I made at that interview was that in my first three months in the job I would launch a very wide ranging, and very open, Survivor consultation which would invite absolutely everybody on the Survivors database to put forward their views about what the charity has done well, about what the charity hasn’t done well, about what their past, present and future needs are and may be.
That consultation is with Survivors now and I am looking forward to hearing from them.
In putting together this consultation, I have met many wonderful people who have all patiently answered my questions and helped make my first couple of months really enjoyable.
I know that there are still many others whom I haven’t yet met, and I really look forward to doing so in the near future.

So what had you done before you came to COPS?
I’ve been working as an independent consultant for more than 10 years. I work regularly with charities, with local authorities and others, in a very similar capacity.
I will come in, often into organisations or into projects that are facing challenging circumstances, are looking to develop new ideas or services, or are in need of a fresh pair of eyes to help set a new direction, a new strategy. And I will help that organisation through that process, offer what expertise I can and guide them through developing and implementing new thinking, or developing existing ideas, and setting a course for the future.
In my last major assignment before COPS, I worked with a national charity supporting seriously ill young adults and helped the charity develop a new strategy to ensure that the excellent service it provided was sustainable long into the future.

What would you say the next year holds for COPS?
I hope that it will be a year of very open, very constructive conversation from all parts of the charity, and I hope that conversation leads to COPS agreeing and setting out a long-term plan that looks at meeting Survivors’ needs in as many shapes and forms as those needs arise.
There are obviously some things that the charity does really, really well – Survivors’ Weekend being an excellent example of that.
But I’m hoping that as part of this conversation we can identify fully the needs that Survivors have and we can start the process of working out how we can go about meeting those.

Tell us something about yourself that the COPS family won’t know.
Well there’s a reason people don’t know things about me, that’s because I prefer to keep them that way! Just kidding.
What can I tell you… I am a mechanical engineering graduate which, after graduation, quite clearly led me to a career in sports and playing volleyball. I’m a former national league volleyball player and have the scars to prove it.
Also, I was born in Poland and came to England when I was six. People at school used to tease me about the fact that I spoke English with a Polish accent, but now apparently I speak Polish with a very heavy English accent!

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