April 2016

Welcome to April’s L & D blog…

Queen Coronation
Elizabeth II was crowned queen on 2 June 1953 aged 25, having been in Kenya when King George VI died suddenly.

Queen Elizabeth II turned 90 on Thursday 21 April 2016. She has reigned for 64 years.  Her devoted public service has inspired admiration and respect from republican and monarchist alike, and the celebrations which have marked her birthday testify to her personal popularity.  This blog is dedicated to her example.  As she herself said when she visited DCLG on 12 November last year:

A life of public service is an honourable calling: you have the opportunity to shape people’s lives, inspire others, and uphold the very highest standards. And so, to all of you here today, and to everyone whose role is to serve the needs of others, I want to say thank you for all that you do.

If that’s not enough to inspire us to sign up for some L & D, I don’t know what is!

In This Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews
5. Update from the CLoG L & D Google Community forum

1. CLoG Activites

Whitehill & Bordon Away Day

The Army’s Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering had a base in Whitehill & Bordon for more than 100 years .  After relocating in 2015 and freeing-up 100 hectares of land, a major regeneration scheme is underway which is proposing to deliver 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, a thriving new town centre, new schools, and protection and enhancement of 150 hectares of beautiful natural environment.

A unit Away Day is planned to Whitehill & Bordon which is part of EM3 LEP’s multi-site Enterprise Zone, with the issues of rural development, transport, skills, LEP geography and devolution likely to be discussed.  Further details will follow, but if you are interested in attending, feel free to send Kate Cornford an email.

Whitehill and Bordon

Civil Service Learning Portal

A new look for the Civil Service Learning portal was launched on 2nd March and can be found here.

Doncaster Racecourse 1955
At Doncaster Racecourse in 1955 to see the St Leger. An avid racing fan, Queen Elizabeth began riding lessons at the age of three and is renowned for her knowledge of thoroughbreds and breeding.

Civil Service Learning Closed Course Opportunities

CSL are offering the following courses on a “closed” basis, i.e. delivered specifically for a self-selecting group.  Why not take the initative and set one of these up for CLoG colleagues?

Giving feedback (£199 per person for an open course  or £2433 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

This three-hour workshop is a valuable learning opportunity for Line managers. It will provide them with useful tools and the skills needed to share feedback and have successful conversations with the people they manage.

Giving and receiving feedback helps people to build authentic and trusting relationships in the workplace and get the best out of each other. Feedback is crucial in developing people and raising awareness of what they do well and how they can get better.


Setting Objectives  (£199 per person for an open course  or £2433 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

This three-hour workshop is a valuable learning opportunity for Line managers. It will give them useful tools to have structured and motivating objective-setting conversations with the people they manage.

Setting objectives is extremely important to motivate people, as well as to enable high performance in teams. Objectives also help people to have structured performance conversations at the middle and at the end of the year.


Change Agility (£118 per person for an open course  or £2261 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

We are all experiencing change more frequently at work which is typically viewed as an opportunity or a threat. This learning will help users to understand their relationship with change and their natural response to it. It will then equip them with the tools and techniques to stabilise change and embrace it positively.

Level: AA-G6 (everyone below SCS)

Duration: 90 minute workshop with 3 hours of independent learning


Habits of Change (£118 per person for an open course  or £2261 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

Through repetitive practice, we form habits that enable us to perform complex behaviours without conscious thought. This learning will help users to identify and understand their typical habits, both at work and home. It will then equip them with the skills and strategies to develop or change their habits and be in charge of conscious thought again.

Level: AA-G6 (everyone below SCS)

Duration: 90 minute workshop with 3 hours of independent learning


If you or anyone in the group are interested in running any of these as closed courses, or have a query about the content of the curriculum, please initially visit the website. If you have any queries, you can contact us at support@civilservicelearning.uk or call 0203 640 7985 – the helpdesk would be delighted to talk to you.

These events are also available for open bookings for learners, in the usual way through the website.

First televised Christmas Day broadcast 1957
In the Long Library at Sandringham after making the first televised Christmas Day broadcast to the nation in 1957. The Queen is holding the copy of Pilgrim’s Progress from which she read during her message.

HMT “Thought Experiment” Series

World-class speakers coming to a room very near you.  Arranged by CLoG alumnus Damien Conyngham-Hynes.

Rachel Botsman on the sharing economy

Thursday 5 May, 3pm, Audit Right, 1 HGR

Michael Sandel on the moral limits of markets

Tuesday 31 May, 3pm, Audit Left, 1HGR

Joseph Nye on ‘is the American Century over?’

Wednesday 8 June, 3pm, Churchill Room, 100 Parliament Street

Peter Singer on doing good: for humans and animals

Friday 10 June, 3pm, Audit Left, 1 HGR

2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

Mentoring in BIS

Check out this article about mentoring on the BIS intranet.

Rothes Colliery 1958
Visiting Rothes Colliery, Fife in 1958. This was the Queen’s first visit to a coal mine and she spent about half an hour underground visiting the coal face.

BIS L & D Newsletter

Yes, BIS has one too!  Click on this article to find lots of opportunities and tips for development.

BIS Staff Forum

Yes, BIS has one too!  Click on this staff forum link and you’ll see how BIS colleagues are being encouraged to share their learning and development stories. So if you’ve been on some interesting training, or maybe just spent time shadowing someone else please feel free to share your experiences and learning, though AFTER you’ve shared them on the CLoG Google Community Forum of course!

DCLG Policy Profession Courses

Problem structuring and analytical thinking: introductory programme

Aimed at Senior Managers (Grade 6/7).

Two part course, 20th May (09.30-13.30) and 17th June (09.30-11.30), here in 2MS.  Contact

Drafting Complex Documents

Aimed at Middle Managers (HEO/SEO), Senior Managers (Grade 6/7) and Senior Civil Servants).

3rd June (9:30 – 17:00) in 2MS

For more information contact Zainab Agha.

Royal Hospital Chelsea 1967
The Queen at the garden party in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London, to mark the 50th anniversary of women in active service, during World War One. She was in uniform herself when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and became No 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor. She learned to drive and qualified in April 1945, and was subsequently promoted to Junior Commander.

3. Across the Country…And Beyond

Civil Service Local

Civil Service Local is a network of regional groups dedicated to personal development of civil servants based across the country.


CS Local facilitates a number of networks. Examples include: Continuous improvement; diversity & inclusion, staff engagement, and learning and development.  Each region also has a Recruitment and Redeployment network which allows informal contact between departments about vacancies and/or redeployment issues.


An excellent way of developing new skills and competencies for the individual and improving morale and engagement for their team/department. CS Local facilitates cross departmental teams who volunteer in their local communities, and, by working with people from OGDs, learn about the Civil Service in their locality as a by-product. Groups volunteer in schools, colleges, hospices, and with vulnerable citizens, including the homeless, offenders nearing release, and recent immigrants.

Learning & Development

Departments can nominate junior staff with potential (usually AO & EO) for CS Local “Academies”. These are either 4 day residential events or 8 days over a 6 months modular programme themed round a CS reform topic. Once the 4/8 days is complete, delegates work in cross-departmental teams on a project for either a year or 6 months.  A Middle Manager Academy for HEO/SEO has also been recently piloted.

Discovery Sessions

Each region runs on average 2 sessions per month. These are half day events of interest to all irrespective of Department. Some of the most popular have included Parliamentary Outreach, Leadership Statement, Using CS Jobs and Dementia friends. Some of the networks have also run sessions.

Last year, Civil Service Local facilitated over 2500 volunteering days and over 12000 staff development days. In so doing, they helped vulnerable citizens, inspired school children, developed capabilities and provided opportunities for civil servants to do something outside of their normal role.

How can I find out more about what is happening in my area?

Local contacts

I thoroughly enjoyed my day facilitating at the Loughborough College Employability Workshop. It was interesting to work with a group of young people who are getting ready to take their first step into the world of Full Time Employment. I was able to use techniques I had developed through our Train the Trainer workshop and found it extremely rewarding to pass on these valuable skills to a new generation! It certainly demonstrates that the skills and competencies we develop as Civil Servants are transferable to other working environments.

Brenda Mitchell, volunteer (December 2015)

Heath and Nixon 1970
With Prime Minister Edward Heath (second right) and American President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat Nixon at Chequers, Buckinghamshire in 1970. Since the Queen came to the throne, there have been 13 US presidents and she has met every one except Lyndon B Johnson.

Ministers Reflect

The Institute for Government have just launched a great new resource in Ministers Reflect. It’s a unique online archive that records – in former ministers’ own words – what it takes to be an effective government minister, the challenges they face, and what more officials can/could have done to support them.

RADA Courses

Shake-downs, focussed punching, saying the months of the year with a cork between your teeth…the RADA course I did recently is far and away the most enjoyable and best I have done (see review below).  Do check these out if you’re looking for something a bit different.  Click on the links for more information.

Study at Balmoral 1972
The Queen in her study at Balmoral on the year of her silver wedding anniversary, 1972. Even when she is away from London, in residence at Balmoral or Sandringham, the Queen receives official papers nearly every day of every year and her working day begins at her desk.

EU Related Events

The UK’s place in the world and EU membership

Organised by the University of Kent

  • Anand Menon (King’s College London)
  • Allegra Stratton (ITV News National Editor)
  • Karen Smith (LSE)

The purpose of this conference is to bring together leading analysts working on the questions related to UK and international relations to present their latest findings on the costs and benefits of EU membership for Britain’s diplomacy and foreign, security and defence policies. The aim is to present the findings of up to date and assessments, alongside past and present practitioners, to an audience of key non-academic stakeholders and opinion formers.

3 May 2016, 09:30-17:30 followed by a drinks reception, Rusi, 61 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET.

Further information and registration details here.

Interpreting the past, present and future of Cyprus

Organised by the London School of Economics’ European Institute

  • Hubert Faustmann (University of Nicosia)
  • Rebecca Bryant (A.N.Hadjiiyiannis Associate Professional Research Fellow)
  • James Ker-Lindsay (Eurobank EFG Senior Research Fellow LSE)
  • Haridimos Tsoukas (Dean of the School of Economics and Management)

This conference asks participants to reflect on the development of Cyprus-related research, particularly over the past two decades.

17 May 2016, 09.15-18:30, University of Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Can we believe the EU referendum polls?

Organised by NatCen Social Research

  • Professor John Curtice (Senior Research Fellow NatCen)
  • Peter Kellner (Commentator and former President of YouGov

Four weeks before the public is asked to decide on Britain’s membership of the EU, this event will examine how far we should believe the Referendum polls.

25 May 2016, 13:00-14:00, Portcullis House, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future

Organised by the London School of Economics’ European Institute

  • Giles Merritt (former Financial Times foreign correspondent and current Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ‘Friends of Europe’)

Giles Merritt will discuss that the steepness and suddenness of Europe’s decline in the ‘Asian century’ will depend on the actions we Europeans undertake.

26 May 2016, 18.30-20:00, Old Theatre, Houghton Street, WC2A 2 AE.

No prior registration required.

New Delhi Zail Singh 1983
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting the Indian President Zail Singh at his palace in New Delhi in 1983. The Queen has travelled to some 129 different countries during her reign so far, but does not have a passport because British passports are issued in her name.

4. News and Reviews

Confident and Resilient Leadership – a RADA in Business training course (Douglas Leckie)

I confess to being a bit skeptical when I turned up for this course on Friday 8 April.  What do actors really know about the cut and thrust of the 21st century civil service? Declaiming “Friends, Romans, countrymen” to a captive audience is one thing, but what relevance could the world of the thespian have to my daily round of meetings, emails and briefings?

How wrong I was – there is at least one thespian, namely the course facilitator Claire Dale, who knows a great deal about life as a civil servant, and she proceeded to take us through an amazingly enjoyable and practical set of techniques and approaches derived from the world of drama which are highly applicable to things we do every day.  Posture, presence, voice, body language…these are the tools of the acting trade, and to a large degree our tools as well.  I found the insights and ideas which Claire covered with us refreshing and inspiring in equal measure, and cannot commend this particular course – and by extension RADA’s other offerings as well – highly enough.

A potted summary?  Be open, not closed.  Stretch, don’t shrink.  Little and often to make big changes.

If you want to know more come and ask me, or, even better, sign up for one of these courses yourself!

Army Rifle Association 1993
The Queen, with Chief Instructor Lt-Col George Harvey in 1993, firing the last shot on a standard SA 80 rifle when she attended the centenary of the Army Rifle Association at Bisley.

The Four Principles of Good Learning

John Stafford of Civil Service Learning blogs on the: Four principles of good learning

Pope Benedict 2010
Queen Elizabeth II talking with Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 during an audience in the Morning Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh during a four-day visit by the Pope to the UK.

5. Update from the CLoG L & D Google Community Forum

Ummmmm…it’s quiet.  Very quiet.  No posts since 25 February to be precise.  The prize for the team L & D Google Community Champion goes to Natasha Barras with a number of really interesting posts, with honourable mentions to Andrew Sissons, Toni Wooton and Andrew Paterson.

As for the rest of us, not so good.

If you’ve joined the community but not visited it, please do so by clicking here.  If you’ve visited but not posted, what’s stopping you?  And if you’ve not yet joined, let me know and I’ll send you the joining instructions.

The resource is there and could surely be a thriving and extremely useful forum for us to exchange ideas and share feedback.  USE IT OR LOSE IT!


The Queen 2015
The Queen, 2015. The ultimate public servant?