Posted tagged ‘education’

An education

March 13, 2012

Because movie stars are cooler than councillors

We love a guest post and today’s is a really interesting one. The post discusses what, in many areas, seems to be a growing disconnect between councillors and officers. It then looks at what might have been one of the causes; the collapse of the committee system. We hope you enjoy today’s post and if you have something you’d like to submit please drop us a line at welovelocalgovernment@gmail.com… but not before you’ve read this:

When local government moved to the Cabinet system, it lost the best political training ground for council officers of the future. The old committee system had many faults; slow decision making and too many late nights being just two of them. However, what the committee system did provide was an opportunity for local government officers to learn the intricacies, rules and unspoken regulations of working with elected members. And in my experience local government is poorer without it.

I don’t work in Democratic Services now, but that was where I started. It gave me the best possible education for a future in the public sector and it’s only now that I’m beginning to realise it.

From the outside I was an administrator.

But when you are on the inside of the committee machine you realised that you were part of something much bigger than that. You are a relationship builder, secret-keeper, networker, diplomat, confidant, counsellor (to councillors) and on occasion, even a muse.

Most importantly you learn how to deal with personalities and politics; and more specifically the personalities IN politics.

You are taught about delegated powers, governance and constitutions. You see how decisions are made, why some take hours of discussion whilst some go through on the nod. You see how some members really do represent the people who put them there, but how others are just in it for themselves.

And back in the old days, every senior officer knew how to work this system and knew their place in it. They understood the most basic rule: it’s all about the council tax payers and the people who represent them. The tax payer is not only your customer; he is also your boss.

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The most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million

November 2, 2010

Will we all be over educated yet unemployed?

In a previous life I was a yoot worker (we all talked like that in order to be down ‘wiv da kidz, innit’).  In between dealing with some kids stabbing each other and others crying in a corner because nobody understood them (both true, not stereotypes – I promise!), I developed and delivered training courses.  These were great fun, really well received by participants and schools and youth clubs couldn’t get enough of them.

That is, until I had enough of delivering them.  You see, whilst the courses were very good (even if I do say so myself), taught a range of valuable and useful skills and were accredited, all too often I would find that I had trained groups of young people up only to see them have nowhere to go and no way of using these new skills.  The youth clubs and services weren’t ready to do anything with them, which created a lot of frustration within those groups and undid a lot of the work I’d gone through.

Fast forward this ten or fifteen years and I’m drawing a lot of parallels in my colleagues.  Okay, maybe not the crying and stabbing (although there is always a little of both going on somewhere in the building), but I’m definitely seeing people getting ready to dive back into training and education with no thought about what after that.

Many of my colleagues are taking the cuts as an opportunity to go off for a while and do something they’ve wanted to do but had no reason to.  The always excellent Redundant Public Sector Worker was musing setting up their own business, Citizenr also took a look at a few options from the X-Factor to being the next Charlie Dimmock.  Both of these are thinking of some (more or less) practical solutions that will support them in the longer as well as medium term should they come off (good luck both by the way!). (more…)