That was the localgov week that was
There’s only one week until Christmas, one week until Christmas! At WLLG towers we have brought out some tinsel, a few mince pies and a little mulled wine; however, that hasn’t stopped us from casting an amused eye over the world of local government this past week. Here are our picks:
Are you interested in the future of Local Government? Do you have 2 sides of good ideas that you could contribute to a new commission looking at local government? If so you might be interested in checking out the Civic Enterprise UK Commission on the Future of Local Government. As the site explains:
In order to produce practical recommendations that create a blueprint for local government we need to build a broad evidence base. We hope to bring the concept of Civic Enterprise to life through real world examples and cases where the challenges of working in new ways have been overcome. This means that we need to hear from any individual, business, public sector agency, third sector organisation, social enterprise or interested party that can share their experience with us.
If that’s not a call to action then I don’t know what is. Do get involved.
On a similar theme, we do like to plug good things in local government and the LGIU Councillor Awards 2012 are one such good thing. The nominations are now open in the following categories:
- Age UK Pride of Place Award
- Bruce-Lockhart Member Scholarship
- CCLA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Financial Performance
- Community Champion of the Year
- Judges Special Award for Contribution to Local Government
- Leader of the Year
- Online Councillor of the Year
- Partnership Achievement of the Year
- Scrutineer of the Year
- Sustainability Champion of the Year
- Young Councillor of the Year
We’re off to nominate someone now (by clicking here) and we’d encourage you to do so as well. Go on, you know you want to!
Even if you don’t fancy nominating your councillors for awards, most of need to generate a good working relationship with them. This piece in the Guardian Local Government Network gives some good advice about how to manage that relationship.
As the author points out:
Where problems of politics arose, it was because pressure was applied to make me agree with something that was either professionally wrong or where the proposals had a dubious legal basis. When that happened, the politicians I held in high regard were those who listened to my advice and who then made it clear during the decision making process where the responsibility for the final decision lay. Such politicians had, and continue to have, my utmost respect.
One of our favourite bloggers @ermintrude2 who this week discussed the Government’s proposal for a care home rating scheme. I’m not sure I am as pessimistic as the blog but this concluding paragraph is well put:
I welcome more information and knowledge but I worry that this is a path towards the disappearance of professional expert regulation that is being followed ‘on the cheap’ and the intention is to replace rather than bolster scrutiny and regulation in what is a much more complex setting than hotels and restaurants.
Meanwhile, in less serious news the remarkable Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has called for local government bureaucrats to wear bowler hats. As the BBC reported:
Council officials should be forced to wear bowler hats if proposals allowing them to clamp down on minor offences are approved, a Conservative MP says. Jacob Rees-Mogg said he disapproved of granting powers to make it a criminal offence for someone not to hand over their name and address if accused of an offence like dropping litter. Any official enforcing this should have to wear a bowler hat to show they were a “thorough-going bureaucrat”, he said.
Some of the WLLG crew are what can best be described as early adopters, and can’t comprehend why people don’t use the latest social tools and a collaborative approach to make their working lives easier and the outcomes better. In a really thought provoking (in a non-confrontational way) piece Dave Briggs muses on why no everyone feels this way.
Much is made of the fact that due to the consumerisation of technology, workers are more likely to expect that social tools are available to them at work. I’d agree with this, but I think it is more likely that they expect and desire to use tools of their own choosing and not some corporately imposed knowledge management solution.
In other words, I suspect in this area employees would want to use the tools they like using, for their own purposes. There’s nothing wrong with this – I’m not suggesting that people just want to waste time, or spend their working day expanding their LinkedIn network – but I do think it more important that organisations allow staff access to the tools they want to do their jobs, and then find a way of managing it all – as opposed to procuring a big system to do ‘social’ and assuming people will want to use it.
At the bottom of Dave’s piece is a link which leads to a gem of a piece on organisational change. It may not overtly be aiming itself at the public sector, but the two options discussed – small, regular, organic change vs dam-blowing major change – are ones we are all grappling with at the moment.
Maybe I’m stretching this analogy too far, but in my view there are two ways to organize people: (1) You either build an organization that acts like a river – self regulating and adjusting over time – what we would call a connected company rooted in a human, social foundation. Or (2) you take the more over-engineered approach to org design and build a rigid system that strongly supports your needs today but will likely change in the future. I’m not necessarily opposed to option 2, but it’s worth noting that a constant cycle of building and blowing up on a large scale is difficult, disruptive, and expensive. We’ve all seen organizations go through massive change of “dam exploding” proportions. It’s not fun.
One of my favourite Local Government tweets this week was this from @ClaireLPeters:
Just got a handshake from the Chief Exec.
That’s a hashtag I’d love to see repeated!
Finally, and continuing the twitter theme, I’d like to give some love to the London Borough of Sutton for reporting this story:
Tweet 1: Sutton police hunting for 2ft elf with pink face stolen from Woodmansterne Nurseries. Elf wearing green wooly hat and waistcoat
Tweet 2: Elf nicked yesterday at 4.45pm. CCTV shows three women took him – one in her 70s in a wheelchair
Tweet 3: At last, I have a picture:
So very very random!
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