Everywhere I have been in my local government odyssey there have been some constants. Bad catering, poor heating systems and numerous complicated templates are just an example of the commonality possessed across the local government sector.
Another, often unsung, constant is the presence of one person who knows everyone and everything about the team, and often the council, you’re working in.
I call these people the indispensable few.
The indispensable few don’t occupy senior roles within the authority.
Some will be PAs (long established as the most powerful position in any organisation) but more often than not the indispensable colleague is just an ‘ordinary’ member of the team, an ‘ordinary’ officer or a service manager, usually of a small service.
This person will have a set role to perform but will be found helping anyone and everyone achieve their goals. They will be a source of news and information but won’t be gossipers in the traditional sense of the word. They’ll know what’s going on but have a clear idea of what can be shared, to who and when. They will often be taken into the confidence of half the organisation; and never let anyone down.
The individual in question is the person we turn to when we need advice and aren’t ready to go up the chain to our manager etc.
They’ll know who to call and where information can be found.
In summary, the indispensable few act as the grease that helps the council operate smoothly. Without them I’m pretty sure the council would not function nearly as well.