Why Ideology Eats Evidence for Breakfast

A Bioengineer called Guru Madhavan gave a talk at the RSA this week pointing out that it makes sense to apply the tools of rational disciplines, like engineering, to the field of public policy.  He gave some examples of (what others would call) user-centred design, systematic and multi-criteria decision-making. I got this stuff with my…

Take-Aways from #LocalGovCamp 2015

Consolidating my thinking and in a spirit of sharing … The Right Conditions for Digital Paul Brewer (@pdbrewer) pitched a session about the Right Conditions for Digital (see his blogpost) based on his experience at Director of Digital and Resources at the very interesting Adur and Worthing.  This could have been a longer session.  Paul…

Devolution: The end of Localism?

(This is a bit of thinking out loud in an entirely personal capacity) In future times as we look back on the process of devolution now beginning, we may see that this was the point at which localism came to an end. This may seem contradictory – surely devolution is a decentralising force and therefore…

Observations of a World-Class Team Leader

Recently I went to a musical performance by the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.  My seat was in the choir seats behind the orchestra and I was right in the middle so I was directly opposite the conductor and therefore able to see exactly what he was doing in leading the team…

Deja Vu All Over Again

I am personally inspired by the folk who are driving forward the LG “”Digital”” agenda in multiple ways, through events, blogs, tireless work and at significant personal cost in terms of time, and, um … cost. From several local gov camps and similar, and much tweetage there seem to be a whole set of recurring…

Recruiting for Commercialism

This article, which appeared under the name of myself and Veredus colleague Evelyn Dougherty, was first published in the MJ As we travel around the country visiting a diverse range of local authorities it is clear that “commercialism” is on the rise.  We are often asked about the practicalities and pitfalls of recruiting people with…

The CIO at the Top Table?

(originally published as a Veredus blog here ) In an article this week on Government Computing I drew out some points that had emerged at the Socitm Conference in 2012 with conclusions for 2013.  In particular I mentioned that: “The role of the IT profession within local authorities’ wider change agenda got some attention. Many of the people…

Building a Platform for Evidence Use in Local Government

This blog was originally published on Demsoc’s Open Policy Blog. I attended the “Informed Future” workstream at the 2012 Solace Summit, and whilst I won’t try to give a blow-by-blow account I want to share here some of the key things which emerged, for me.  There is a lot of hard work at many levels required before Local Government…

Thoughts arising from … #LocalGovCamp

Attended my first localgovcamp this weekend, (though it wasn’t my first unconference). These are my 10 takeaways – a clever format suggest by someone (possibly even Dan Slee) a little while ago: 1. Struck once again by how extraordinarily easy it is to enjoy the company of people who share a common passion and with…

The Tale of the Town Hall Clock

I wrote this shortly after joining Local Government, in 2001…. The Tale of the Town Hall Clock Once upon a time there was a town hall clock.  It was quite a famous clock because it kept very good time, and people for miles around liked to see it, and hear its chiming bells.  Lots of…

Town Councils – 2

After my fictional blog looking back at the success of a Town Council from the vantage point of 2015 I was delighted recently when someone pointed out this – Frome Town Council’s strategic plan is written in a similar way to the blog. It would be nice to think that the blog was mildly influential in…