Posted tagged ‘thank you’

100,000 not out

October 20, 2011

Humbled...

It’s funny what happens when you start moving with no destination in mind.  Yes, it might take you a bit longer to get anywhere worth going, but the journey itself becomes epic.

When we started this blog back in November 2009 we had no real plans; we simply wanted to do something that didn’t already exist and provide an officer eye look at local government. We knew we wanted to provide a slightly sideways glance at local government rather than some of the grander political commentary more widely available, and felt we could provide a view, and commentary, of local government that might otherwise not get into the public domain.

It was a slow start to say the least. It took a while to find our collective and individual voices, a while to get into the habit of regular posting and a while to find things to say.  When we started there really didn’t seem to be anyone for us to pick up tips from, but over the intervening 24 months all this has changed.  Slowly but surely we got to grips with what we enjoyed discussing, discovered other great blogs and even worked out how to put images in our posts (a seemingly minor yet landmark moment at WLLG Towers).

Despite all this, we never really planned for WLLG to be what it currently is. We didn’t plan for it to be a daily blog; we didn’t really plan to have that many readers; we didn’t plan to write pieces for the Guardian (website); we certainly didn’t plan to be in the LGC 50 document and finally we categorically did not plan to have 100,000 hits on our blog.

We had achieved all of them apart from the 100,000 hits and yesterday, we did just that.

So, thank you!

Thank you to all our readers for clicking on our site and reading our daily musings. When we see that people have read, commented on, tweeted about or in any other way referenced or responded to our posts it encourages us to write more.  What’s more it encourages us to do more research, talk to more people, think about more issues and generally expand our horizons. All of us agree that as a result of this blog we are better informed people and better officers; more able to face the myriad challenges of our local government career.

Thanks to Redundant Public Servant, The Local Government Officer, LGIU, Flipchart Fairy Tales, Helpfulgov and more.  Thanks to our ever growing network of interesting people following and sharing with us on twitter (which is another thing we’ve added over the past twelve months).

Thanks to the myriad people who submitted guest posts or took the time to get in touch with us. We’d like to thank those who critiqued our writing; joined in debates we started and tolerated it when we blundered into debates they had started.

And the final thanks in this cringe/Oscar-worthy list go to our families, who put up with this blog taking up chunks of our evenings and weekends, support us when we get stressed about getting it finished on time and most of all put up with their partners, parents and others devoting a lot of time to reading and talking about often obscure local government stories and other ideas for posts.

It’s funny how round numbers make you want to look back on things.  We know that our 100,000 hit mark is nowhere near accurate, but it is an arbitrary target we set ourselves and is now an excuse to celebrate a little and reflect a lot.  It’s been a great couple of years; now it’s time to think about the future and what it may hold.  Do we change the focus of the blog and expand our horizons?  Do we seek out new people to write with us on a regular basis?  Do we sign off with a flourish, walking away content in a job well done?  Or do we simply keep on with our somewhat random topics, varying styles and at times whimsical flights of fancy?

Whatever we do, one thing is certain: for all its peccadilloes, we will continue to love local government.

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

Go on, you know you want to…

Progress Report

May 13, 2011

So are we happy with ourselves?There is simply no getting around it, and certainly no faking it: we are all local government workers. We turn up at our places of work, go to meetings, make project plans and evaluate them at the end. Some of us are also heavily involved in monitoring, and spend days looking at milestones and outputs.

With that in mind, we thought it might be good to do a little housekeeping and stay up to date with our monitoring paperwork. This blog has been going for some time now, and so we want to share a few things about how we feel we’ve been getting on.

Twitter

Hopefully, most of you will be aware that along with this blog, we collectively maintain a Twitter account. Originally inspired to do so by the now employed Redundant Public Servant , this glory of the modern era allows us to post slightly shorter thoughts and ideas regularly, and really engage with other people who have an opinion – positive or negative – about local government.

It was our twitter account that inspired this blog post actually, as this week we passed 1000 followers. Compared to such luminaries as Dominic Campbell, Andy Sawford or Ben Page this is chicken feed, with 1000 followers arriving most days along with the junk mail. However, we began this blogging oddesey surprised and delighted when anyone at all followed us, and collectively managed to look abashed when we hit treble figures.

To see that more than a thousand people check in to hear what we have to say is humbling and exciting; for these aren’t any old thousand people, this includes many people who’s opinions we all value and appreciate immeasurably. If you are one of our thousand or so you have helped us out constantly, challenged us with questions and often just made us smile. So our first thanks goes to you.

Posts

When we started this blog way back in November 2009 we thought that we’d do well to update more than once or twice a week. Since then we have added 243 posts for our readers to enjoy, covering all manner of issues and topics, from the surreal to the anger provoking. We’ve challenged national policy decisions which affect local government, questioned the situations we get ourselves into and shared a few gems which colleagues have sent us to inspire a laugh.

We’ve hit walls for inspiration occasionally, but between us all we’ve tried to stick to churning out a little something every day which we think people will enjoy. And some of our favourite posts haven’t even come from one of our regular blogging team: we are honoured to have been able to post some fantastic guest posts from time to time. Some have been serious, some have been a little more whimsical, and some have been amongst the most viewed posts we’ve ever had, so our second thanks goes out to anyone and everyone who has put fingertips to keyboards and sent us some thoughts to share.

Sharing

Inspired by a desire to share a few thoughts with a few people about a walking club, we put up our first post. It was read by about seven people a day, and the only people sharing it were the people who wrote it. Since then we have found ourselves shared like tomato sauce in a cafe; a little here, a little there and occasionally ending up somewhere we never expected to be.

We have written articles for those good people at the Guardian, been quoted by real journalists in real articles, been retweeted to all and sundry and been e-mailed around so much that some of us have had links to our own stories sent back to us (proving that for the moment at least our thin veil of anonymity is holding firm!). We have even been syndicated to other sites, sometimes even with our permission.  And to top it all, we lost our dignity a little when we found out that we had been listed in the LGC list of influential organisations.

That we are read by anyone in the first place still puts a smile in our hearts; that some of these enjoy our simple words enough to send them on to a colleague makes us a little giddy, so our third thanks go out to anyone and everyone who has ever tweeted, e-mailed, linked to our posted a status update about us or our posts.

And finally

Our final thanks are a little self indulgent, but also a little obvious. We want to thank all of those who share our passion for local government and appreciate the huge amounts of good it does, to all who do the big jobs and strategys, and to all who do the little jobs which no-one notices until they are stopped. So thank you to every single local government officer, whatever your pay grade, council, opinions or demeanor; we hope you all realise that we are not the only people out there who love local government.

It’s nice to be reminded sometimes

April 28, 2011

Thank youAs regular readers will know, this blog is written by a number of people. Recently one of the regular contibutors, my good old anonymous self, haven’t been contributing anything to these fine pages, leaving things in the excellent and safe hands of others (heartfelt thanks go out to all of you by the way!).

The reason for this hiatus was unfortunately not a good one. My wife and I suffered a sudden and unexpected personal tragedy. I shant go into too many details, suffice to say that it was something that knocked us for six and took over everything for a while.

Now, I can hear you asking yourself what on earth has this to do with local government? Surely whatever happened wasn’t the fault of Eric Pickles, or suffered from an overabundance of form filling? Well, you’re right of course – even I couldn’t blame E-Pic for this one.

The reason I wanted to share this with you all was the way the situation was treated by my colleagues and workplace. The office has been a bit of a dark place recently, with restructures, interviews and redundancies flying around like Piers Morgan on a broomstick. It’s felt at times that the only way to be certain of a job at the end of things would be simply to be the last one standing, with any sign of weakness punced upon and used against you at a later date. (more…)

The indispensable few

March 31, 2011

The indispensables ones aren't always highlighted in gold

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.

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