Is “Localism” to Blame for Brexit?

An edited version of this blog first appeared in LGC shortly after the Brexit vote. Some of the trends that we celebrate as localist – taking decisions closer to the people they affect, uniting people within the bubble of their place, creating effective but smaller groups of people – these trends of fragmentation seem similar…

On Being Ignored

This is a slightly adapted version of my blog which was published by LGiU here. It is the run-up to the EU referendum.  Two voices are speaking, but not to each other: Voice Number 1 – “I’m really frustrated and don’t know what to do about it. The vast majority of people I know and trust,…

Free is a Curious Price

This is where I may get torn to shreds by some people I really like – Open Data folk. For the last three decades, since my early qualifications in Operational Research, through my consulting and public and private leadership roles I have been fascinated by the role of data and analytics in helping make the…

“Dark Value” in Public Services?

We are used to the idea of “dark matter” as the name of the precisely quantified but undetectable proportion of the universe that has to be there for current physics theories to make sense.  By analogy* Geoff McCracken writes in a book of the same name about “Dark Value” – the hidden value –  that…

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…

Immediate Reflections on the 2015 Solace Summit

I shared my immediate reflections on this year’s Solace summit in the following tweets which, to be clear, contain my personal views and are framed partly as provocations, the provocative nature often enhanced by the character limit! Reflection 1: Devo will give birth to people-place-changing awesome 21st C Municipalism (except where it miserably doesn’t) Reflection 2: *Evidence* is…

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…

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…

In the Bleak Mid-Decade: The View from Bartle Borough Council in 2017

It’s 2017.  We are halfway through the projected decade of austerity.  Bartle Borough Council is a (fictional) unitary with 250,000 residents. It describes itself as a “commissioning council” and more than 80% of its services are provided by the private or voluntary sector. Resident satisfaction is pretty good – just below upper quartile. 75% of…

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…