This is the localgov week that was


Some of our favourite blog posts this week

One of the things we love most about writing this blog is the excuse it gives us to spend time on the internet, reading other blogs for ‘research’ purposes.  Since we began writing all that time ago more than a few others have joined us in the blogosphere, regularly educating and amusing us in equal measures.  Some agree with some of the things we write here, others point out all of the things we haven’t thought of or which totally disagree – which is certainly no bad thing.

So in an effort to spread a little blogging cheer we wanted to point our readers towards some of the blog posts we have particularly enjoyed over the past week.  If we missed one that you thought was particularly good then tell us about it in the comments below or tweet us a link (@welovelocalgov by the way) and tell others all about it.  And if you come across something interesting over the next week or so, you know who to tell!

For the those fancying a thoughtful post or two Matthew Taylor’s blog is always a good one. He disagreed with us over the Beecroft report correctly pointing out that:

There is no question that unfair dismissal rules impose burdens on managers, but any manager who seriously claimed that these rules were the cause of poor productivity in their organisation would have to face to some searching questions.

Whilst earlier in the week his piece about Payment by Results was a really good read:

The fact is that the independence of charities lies not only in their methods but also the outcomes they pursue. In dealing with vulnerable people, they might, for example, have a more holistic interest in a person’s dignity and well-being, going beyond the particular outcome targeted by Government. With major cuts to grants to third sector organisations many charities will face a simple choice; either cut back their services or accept that they have to put their energies into delivering Government targets even if they believe these targets are misjudged or too narrow.

Back to unfair dismissal the ever excellent Flip Chart Fairy Tales also points out what we got wrong over Beecroft arguing and after debunking some of the initial claims points out the wider flaw in the argument:

But the most glaring flaw in Beecroft’s proposal is this. He is not proposing to get rid of discrimination legislation. (He’s bold but he’s not that bold.) As any HR manager will tell you, plain old unfair dismissal claims are a doddle. The ones that send even the most sophisticated employers into a tailspin are the discrimination claims. Not only is the compensation potentially much higher but the law is more complex too. Discrimination claims also generate more media hype so there is a heightened fear of bad publicity.

Back in Local Government world the ever energetic Louise Kidney has an idea for finding out, and explaining, what local government staff are actually up to. Her idea is:

I want to know what you do. I want to see a snapshot of your life, every single day for the next month. I want to know how you serve, how you clean, how you care, how you protect and how you support.

But most of all, I want to paint a picture in a thousand words of why local government is a many wonderful thing. I can’t do that alone.

You too can tweet along at #1515gov just telling the world what you are doing at 15:15 each day. It’s a great idea.

As regular readers will know we do like someone who wants to defend local government and this piece from Iain Malcolm initially got the tone about right:

Local government has been a force for good in Britain. We will work to defend our communities by examining new and innovative models of service delivery – through trusts and co-operatives, asset transfers to the voluntary sector, strategic partnerships with the private sector or more joint working between councils.

The government’s cuts are brutal and ideological.

He messed it up totally though by ending his piece with this:

Our task isn’t just to protect residents from the worst effects – it is to make them fully appreciate whose hand is on the axe.

We couldn’t disagree with that more and we think that the fact that he included it in many ways discredits the rest of the piece.

In the exciting world of information governance (yes, it can be exciting.  Honest.) Tim Turner looked at why a favourite adage of ours is true: nothing can ever be idiot proof, as there’s always a better idiot out there.  The best policies and systems are only ever as good as the people putting them into action after all:

Most people, most of the time, don’t really need to be told what to do with data – they’ll guard it with their lives, keep it accurate and up-to-date and make it accessible only to those who need it because they’ve got common sense. But even the best member of staff goes idiot when they’re in a hurry, or they’ve under pressure, or they don’t understand the technology. And then there are a very small number who are idiots all day, every day. Look around the table, and if you don’t see the idiot, it’s you.

Less of a blog post as such, but this reflection on some of the lessons learnt at the recent Yammer Tour event in London set out just a few of the reasons why it really is something that all council’s should be looking at using now – not deciding which bits they like and then spending three years sourcing alternatives that IT can host internally.

In response to our piece about why people love local government Benjamin Welby wrote a brilliant response expanding on his initial comment and explaining exactly why he loves local government. It is well worth a read.

So that’s our first ever weekly round-up; now you can tell us all the great posts we missed!

Welovelocalgovernment is a blog written by UK local government officers. If you have a piece you’d like to submit or any comments you’d like to make please drop us a line at: welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com

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