May 2016

Welcome to May’s L & D blog…

CLoG Picture for Blog
David Henson, Alex Brown, Kate Jones and Jack Minty at the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution’s report on devolution in March

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 Activities

CLoG Policy School III

The third CLoG Policy School is happening in September, and will be the first to involve colleagues working with us from across Whitehall to devolve powers to local areas. The Cities and Local Growth Policy School is one of the unit’s flagship L&D opportunities. It’s an intensive two day event exploring a range of policy tools and techniques and applying them to develop new place-based policies. Participants will be challenged to generate and present a real policy idea to increase local growth in Blackpool. Participants will be given the opportunity to hone their policy-making expertise through sessions with the Cabinet Office’s Policy Lab and other experts.

More details will be shared in the coming weeks, but if you have any questions in the meantime, do contact one of the Policy School organisers: Kate Thompson, Mick Allen, Kate Jones and Callum Whittaker.

Katherine and Jonathan Edwards CBE
Katherine O’Connor meeting Jonathan Edwards. If you think about it local growth is a bit like the triple jump…

The Return of the CLoG Policy Forum…

The CLOG Policy Forum has now been running off and on for almost 18 months, is chaired by Robert Keeling and meets on average every few weeks in 2MS. CLOG colleagues are invited to speak about a subject and then it opens for discussion and questions. Although it is meant to be fun, it is also a good opportunity to learn about new subjects, share “specialist subjects” with colleagues and also float new ideas.

Subjects people have spoken about previously have varied enormously – from  the economic value of the natural environment (Ben Whitlock), the economics of Victorian pets (Alice Rutherford), the economics of Christmas (Rob K), Dutch economic history (Paul Miller), Chester (David Herson) and Seattle (Joe Manning). Volunteers are always welcome! Let Rob Keeling know if you’d like to lead a session.

See below for reviews of some recent sessions.

March – Victorian Dog Ownership (Alice Rutherford)

In March I ran a session on Victorian dog ownership inspired by the larger than life-size, bejewelled sculpture of a pet Newfoundland dog displayed in the V&A Museum (see below).

We talked about the myths and legends circulated in the Victorian press about Newfoundlands’ life-saving abilities, the boom of artists painting animals under the patronage of Queen Victoria and the heroes of novels like Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre with their pet Newfoundlands.

We also looked at commercialisation and status. From the first dog shows run by the entrepreneurial dog biscuit salesman Mr Cruft in 1891, to the specially designed luxury train carriages designed to carry them. We went on to discuss the queen and her pets, and what our choice of pets say about us today.

Bashaw the Dog

May – The Ruhr Valley (Rob Keeling)

  • The Ruhr Valley in Western Germany is home to more than 12 million people and is one of the largest urban areas in Europe.
  • As a post-industrial region which has successfully reinvented itself there are a number of things which similar regions in the UK could learn from it.
  • The Ruhr Valley is polycentric (similar to the Tees Valley) and is run by an organisation based in Essen which is similar to a LEP called the “Regionalverband Ruhr”. It has an integrated transport system and uniform ticketing system.
  • The industrial history of the Ruhr is based around coal, steel and chemical industries (e.g. ThyssenKrupp based in Essen) and has always been central to German history.
  • Germany has historically been extremely localised, consisting of several hundred small states each with own ruler, currency, laws etc. The Ruhr area was intimately linked to the rise of Prussia and its role in the unification of Germany in the 19th C.
  • It was occupied as a result of the Versailles Treaty and then key to producing armaments for Hitler.
  • The Ruhr was also central to economic miracle in the 1950s and 60s, when rapid growth in Germany created huge demand for coal and steel. Similar to the UK in the 80’s, industry in the Ruhr experienced dramatic restructuring in the 1970’s and then sharp decline.
  • The Ruhr subsequently reinvented itself as a mixture of light industry (e.g. electronics), services and also culture.
  • Although constituent towns and cities have strong local identity (local beers,football etc) they have worked well together to present coherent proposals to either the Land (North-Rhein Westphalia) or central Government in Berlin.
  • In 2010 the Ruhr was one of the European Capitals of Culture (the first region to receive that title).
  • The flagship museum is a coal mine which has been converted into an art gallery (similar to the Tate Modern).
  • Good industrial design has always been important in the Ruhr, whether in design of collieries, coking plants and in particular pit heads. Hilla Becher’s photographs of industrial architecture in the Ruhr are famous in Germany.

May – Australian (Bogan) devolution (Ryan Maclean)

Ryan presented a policy forum outlining differences between the UK and Australia in terms of how our respective government are structured.

Of notable interest was the 1975 constitutional crisis in which the Australian Prime Minister was sacked by the effective Australian Head of State the Governor General (who is appointed by the Prime Minister, with the consent of the Queen). Australia still has a Governor General who, in theory, could still sack the sitting Prime Minister. We also discussed how the Australian federal parliament can override the laws of its constituent territories at any time.

Pete Northover learning and developing with his chainsaw.  Just imagine those logs as impediments to progression in your career.

2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

BIS Opportunities

Project Management – Finance transformation programme

Closing: 25th May 2016 17:00

This is an excellent opportunity to join a fast paced transformation programme in a project management capacity. Length of secondment can be tailored, and can be at HEO or SEO grade. The BIS Finance 2020 PMO Manager will play a key role in driving, managing and coordinating the Programme and its projects.

Read more

Getting to grips with Statutory Instruments – Introduction to Statutory Instruments

Closing: 25th May 2016 13:30

Are you going to be working on secondary legislation in the near future? Do you think that you might be, and want to know more?

Read more

Communications & Engagement Coordinator

Closing: 27th May 2016 17:00

An exciting opportunity to join a large transformation programme leading on comms and engagement across the function in core-BIS and our partner organisations. The role is open for 6 months, and we’re looking for a HEO/ SEO or Fast Streamer to join and inject energy, enthusiasm and new ideas.

Read more

‘Buying in BIS’ Procurement Drop-in

Closing: 1st June 2016 15:30

Come along to a 15-minute drop in session with any queries or issues you have with the UK SBS procurement process.

Read more

Digital in your day job workshop: 9 June 2016

Closing: 9th June 2016 09:30

Find out how to make the most of digital listening and engagement in your everyday work.

Read more

Citizen Space training: 14 June 2016

Closing: 14th June 2016 10:00

Learn the basics to make the most of BIS’ consultation tool, Citizen Space

Read more

Getting to grips with Statutory Instruments – The Role of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee

Closing: 14th June 2016 10:30

Are you going to be working on secondary legislation in the near future? Do you think that you might be, and want to know more?

Read more

Graham Ward – a dog lover – looking after his neighbour’s cats.  L & D takes on a whole new meaning when you think you are about to be savagely attacked in a manner you don’t quite understand.

Digital basics: How to listen online workshop: 15 June 2016

Closing: 15th June 2016 15:30

Why you should listen online, and the tools you can use to do so from Netvibes, to Twitter lists to LinkedIn groups.

Read more

‘Buying in BIS’ Procurement Drop-in

Closing: 15th June 2016 15:30

Come along to a 15-minute drop in session with any queries or issues you have with the UK SBS procurement process.

Read more

Digital in your day job workshop: 9 July 2016

Closing: 27th June 2016 09:30

Find out how to make the most of digital listening and engagement in your everyday work.

Read more

Sustainability in BIS

1st June 2016

Find out what BIS and Engie are doing to be environmentally sustainable in a corporate rensponsibility roadshow.

Click here for more information.

Cake and Eat It with Catherine Raines

16th June 2016

Catherine became UKTI Chief Executive in September 2015. She was previously Minister and Director-General for UKTI in China after a 25 year career in both the public and private sectors.

Click here for more information.

Lips - Julia Wilcox Choir - L and D Photo
Julia Wilcox and her pop choir “Lips”. If you need 75 people to sing some of the latest hits at your next party, you know who to ask!

DCLG Opportunities

Flexible Resourcing Workshop

Wed 25 May – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Flexible Resourcing Workshop

Thu 26 May – 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Join in DCLG’s tenth anniversary celebration

Thu 26 May – 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Flexible Resourcing Workshop

Fri 27 May – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Economic and Social Research seminar: From market fixing to market making

Wed 15 June – 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Click here for more DCLG events in a handy calendar format.

3. Around the Country…And Beyond

Seconded National Expert (SNE) positions

The latest batch of SNE positions is now out, please visit the European Opportunities section of Civil Service Jobs (you must be logged in to view them) for the full list. For further information on how to apply and deadlines please contact . You can set up an alert to receive all the latest SNE positions.

EEAS Secondment Opportunities

Political, ran/Strategic Planning Division, the grade is approximately equivalent to C4-D7 or HEO-Grade 6 in the wider civil service. The agent will provide advice, analysis – including briefs, papers and speeches on EU strategic policy and forward planning issues, for senior members of the EEAS including the HRVP and SG. Deadline: 31.05.2016.

To apply: Interested candidates should send a: Curriculum Vitae (Europass format) to the FCO EEAS Staffing Unit in the first instance by the deadline specified. If selected, you will be provided with guidance on how to proceed with your application and submit onto the EEAS portal.

The second Heseltine Institute seminar of the year will take place at the University of Liverpool on Tuesday 31st May at 4.30pm.

The seminar will centre around the screening of a short film by local artist Jayne Lawless about the experience of compulsory purchase and demolition of homes in a ‘pathfinder’ neighbourhood.

Jayne’s film shows the negative impact that well-intentioned top down policies can have on communities. It supports claims that the Housing Market Renewal initiative has resulted only in unnecessary demolition, loss of built heritage and poor quality renovation.

Please find more information in the attached document, you can register to attend this event at

Without These Walls

Hilary Paxman and a home baked 60th birthday Cornish Pasty. Quite obviously an excellent L & D example: discrete, fairly ambitious and undoubtedly beneficial.

Made in the UK conference at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, Friday 17th June.

Ahead of the 2016 Made in the UK Awards, Insider Media are working in partnership with UKTI to bring together a fascinating day of presentations, discussions and networking opportunities on a number of key manufacturing themes including  Catapult, Big Data Robotics, Driverless Cars, Advanced Manufacturing, Textiles, Rail and Life Sciences.

There will be a Driverless cars session taking place from 2pm – 3.30pm.

Although driverless vehicles have been a dream for decades, fuelled by the impetus of global giants such as Google they have taken a major step forward in recent years.

US states have already passed legislation allowing their use, and industry leaders predict that within years vehicles will be able to drive themselves from one end of the country to the other, autonomously stopping for fuel along the way. But what opportunities and challenges does this pose for UK manufacturers?

If you would like to find out more about the speakers please click here. If you would like to register for free please click here

What is a Redbrick University?

5.30pm – 8.00pm, Thursday 2nd June 2016

Leggate Theatre, The Victoria Gallery & Museum, Ashton Street, Liverpool L69 3DR

David Willetts, Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation will present a lecture, ‘What is a Redbrick University?’

David is also a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, Governor of the Ditchley Foundation and a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

He was Minister for Universities and Science, attending Cabinet, from 2010-2014. He was the Member of Parliament for Havant from 1992-2015. Before that David worked at HM Treasury and the Number 10 Policy Unit. He also served as Paymaster General in the last Conservative Government. In November 2015 David became a member of the House of Lords.

David has written widely on economic and social policy. His most recent book ‘The Pinch’ was published by Atlantic Books in 2010.

If you wish to attend, please register at –

Cities in Transformation Conference, 14 – 15 July, Cambridge

This is the latest of Cambridge’s annual conferences on cities. It’s got a great line-up of speakers, including Andres Rodriguez-Pose and Ian Gordon from the LSE.

More details in the attachment below. Let Andy Paterson know if you’d like to go along.

Cities in Transformation Conference 14-15 July

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Introduction to the EU Budget

Speakers: Nitika Agarwal, Ciara Courtney, Oliver Haydon, Mark Warren and Julian Winkworth form the HM Treasury EU Financing team.

The objective of this session is to increase wider knowledge of the EU budget in advance of the Mid-term review and following the ongoing 2017 EU budget procedure. The event will provide a general overview of the whole EU budget with plenty of time for Q&A.

Date: 20 June 2016.
Time: 14:00-15:00.
Venue: Map Room, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

EU Negotiations: the importance of strong bilateral relationships

Speaker: Robin Barnett, previous HMA in Warsaw and soon to be HMA in Dublin.

Robin will deliver this session focusing on negotiating techniques and the importance of strong bilateral relationships to ensure the UK delivers successfully through the EU.

Date: 5 July 2016.
Time: 14:15-15:15.
Venue: K3.01, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

 EU Expertise: personal experience working on the Serbia and Kosovo deal

Speaker: Baroness Catherine Ashton, previous High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission.

Baroness Catherine Ashton, will give an insight into her extensive EU career. As High Representative, Ashton won praise for her work as a negotiator in difficult international situations, in particular for her role in bringing Serbia and Kosovo to an agreement in April 2013 that normalised their ties. Make the most of this invaluable opportunity and delve into the insights of an EU expert.

Date: 5 July 2016. Time: 14:15-15:15. Venue: K3.01, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Civil Service learning Hub

Interested in improving your understanding of the EU institutions and processes? Visit the EU Skills and Knowledge Civil Service Learning hub, where you can find:

  • The EU Skills and Knowledge Framework and Self-Assessment to identify areas for development
  • Links to e-learning modules so you can get started today
  • Online guidance on a range of day-to-day challenges, such as ‘EU Law in Government’ and ‘A Practical Guide to EU Negotiations’.
  • Booking links to departmental seminars taking place across Government
  • Information on secondments to the European institutions

London School of Economics (LSE) – European Institute

Slippery Slope: Europe’s troubled Future

Speaker: Giles Merritt, former Financial Times foreign correspondent and current Editor- in- Chief and Founder of ‘Friends of Europe’.

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

Date:  26 May 2016.
Time: 18.30-20:00.
Venue:  Old Theatre, Old Building LSE.

Further information can be found here, no prior registration required.

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung – The UK after the EU Referendum: Scenarios

  • Dr Tim Oliver, Dahrendorf Fellow on Europe-North America Relations LSE,
  • Dr Hartmut Mayer, Official Fellow and Lecturer in Politic, St Peters College, University of Oxford.

Different ‘scenarios’ for the United Kingdom and the European Union after the British referendum on 23rd June will be discussed. There will be analysis of the implications for both the EU and the UK arising from a vote for the UK to remain in the Union on that date or a decision to leave the Union. The event will offer a German and a British perspective covering a wide range of political, strategic and cultural consequences of the result.

Date: 31 May 2016.
Time: 17:00 -19:00.
Venue: Mary Sumner House, 24 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3RB

RSVP for the event here or ring 02073201677 for further information.

The UK and Europe: An insider’s view

Speaker: Jonathan Faull, British Official in the European Commission and Director-General of ‘task Force for Strategic Issues related to the UK Referendum’.

Jonathan’s wide experience on the ‘inside’ gives him a privileged view on Britain’s performance in the European Union: its interests and strategy. This will be relevant to the follow-up after the referendum, whether Britain votes to stay or leave.

Date: 2 June 2016.
Time: 13.00-14:00.
Venue: Shaw Library, 6th Floor, Old Building LSE.

Further information can be found here, no prior registration required.

The LSE Commission on the Future of Britain in Europe Report Launch Event

Speaker: TBC.

The LSE Commission on the Future of Britain in Europe aims to inform the national debate on Britain’s membership of the European Union, with high quality, evidence-based and balanced analysis. It aims to meet the public need for reliable information in the run-up to the national referendum on the renegotiated terms of Britain’s EU membership.

Date: 7 June 2016.
Time: 18.30-20:00.
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building LSE.

Further information can be found here, no prior registration required.

Ben Whitlock L and D
Ben Whitlock, power tools and lots of flooring to be done. Just imagine those boards each represent a devolution deal…

4. News and Reviews

What Will Devolution Mean for Joining Up Local Public Services? – Monday 16 May 2016, expert panel convened by the Institute for Government

An expert panel convened by the Institute for Government agreed that English devolution provides a major opportunity to tackle long-standing barriers to local public service integration. Previously, local areas were ‘hamstrung by the lack of access to some of the big levers or benefits’, explained Andrew Gates, Head of Policy at Sheffield City Region LEP/Combined Authority. In fact, the Institute’s public services timeline shows that central government has tried to encourage integration at a local level no less than 59 times over the last 19 years, yet we have still not seen substantial improvements in public services. Devolution has the potential to change this through flexible funding arrangements that allow local areas to invest in integration and prevention, but to also crucially ‘keep some of the advantages and benefits of doing so’.

Indeed, we are seeing the benefits of devolution for public service reform across the country. ‘A lot of people think devolution is about the economy and growth’ explained Rachel Jones, Chief Superintendent at West Midlands Police. But, she said, sustained economic growth requires investment in skills, which, in turn, requires investment in early years (i.e. young children) and in the long-term resilience of their communities. Devolution in the West Midlands has spearheaded a focus on prevention, particularly on improving the life chances of troubled individuals by bringing together mental health, employment, skills and offending services. Likewise, devolution of the adult skills budget to Sheffield City Region by 2018/19 has ‘let the genie out of the bottle on public service reform’, which is now ‘happening by the back door’, according to Andrew Gates. Greater Manchester has gone the furthest; Rachel Pykett, Senior Policy Analyst in the Greater Manchester Public Service Reform team, explained that the ‘whole point of devolution is that we’re having a different dialogue with government…about how we could manage public services.’ The recent devolution to the region of more than £6 billion of public funding for health and social care is just one example of this.

The panellists and audience agreed, however, that four key areas need attention as we move from deal-making to implementation:

  • Set realistic timescales: Rachel Pykett reminded the audience that Greater Manchester has been on a ‘long journey to devolution’. Although the first deal was agreed in November 2014, it has been 20 years in the making. In contrast, as Rachel Jones put it herself, the West Midlands has been working on it for ‘only 20 minutes”’. Yet, the ‘race to devo 2’ is creating a mad rush of activity, even though some areas do not know yet what the right geographical grouping is and who their partners are. As the Institute has previously argued, tight timescales mean areas do not have sufficient time to invest in local partnerships and develop credible and deliverable proposals.
  • Ensure political buy-in. Some members of the audience argued that it seemed like devolution was being led by local authority chief executives and service leaders, rather than politicians. The panel agreed that sustained political leadership at a local level – through new metro mayors who will be elected in 2017 – is crucial to ensuring devolution deal commitments translate into real changes on the ground. As Andrew Gates highlighted, the role of the London Mayor holds important lessons – although the list of formal powers is limited, ‘the influence they have exercised is huge and has gone into territory you wouldn’t have thought possible’.
  • Reform regulation and inspection. Currently, national regulation and inspection regimes ‘drive partners down different routes’ focusing on a single service rather than citizen outcomes or pathways, explained Rachel Pykett. To ensure devolution delivers better outcomes, the panel agreed that Whitehall should encourage locally-led assurance, scrutiny and challenge processes that are responsive to local communities rather than the needs of national regulators and departments.
  • Get better at learning from one another. Andrew Campbell, Associate Director at the Local Government Association, highlighted that there is some diversity in how areas are taking forward public service reform agendas through devolution deals and that we are likely to see a ‘mixed economy’ in five years’ time. The audience and panel agreed that lessons from these various experiments should be shared widely to ensure progress is built on and mistakes avoided; but, as Rachel Jones added, there is a real risk that competition between local areas could discourage them from sharing lessons with those not as far along the journey.

Click here to watch the event in full.

L & D2

DCLG Housing Induction Course (Douglas Leckie)

DCLG regularly run these day-long events, so if you’d like to attend one in the future get in touch with Matthew Louis. I went to the one held on 11th May, and heard a fascinating range of presentations on most elements of DCLG’s housing policy.  Some key statistics which jumped out at me were:

  • The UK is currently building 80,000 fewer houses each year than there are new households being created.
  • 64% are owner-occupiers, 19% private sector renters, 17% social renters.
  • 86% of people aspire to own their own home.
  • Over 40% of under 34s rent privately, with approximately 38% owner-occupying.
  • The government is committed to delivering 200 000 Starter Homes for first time buyers under 40 in its Manifesto, and to 90% of suitable brownfield sites having permission to build by 2020.
  • There is a Manifesto commitment not to build on the greenbelt.
  • The commitment to build 1,000,000 new homes over the course of this parliament was made by Brandon Lewis following the election, and reiterated by Greg Clark, so has now effectively become a binding commitment.
  • The public sector owns about 6% of the land in England and Wales, with MOD alone owning about 1%.
  • There is an ambition to raise £4.5b by selling government land and assets by 2020.
  • Approximately 5% of the land surface of England is built over.
  • 47% of England is protected from development in some way (e.g. agricultural grade 1 land, National Park etc).
  • The Green Belt comprises 13% of the land in England.
  • DCLG Housing secured £22b in the November 2015 SR.
  • The HCA was established by statute in 2008 and has 900 staff, an admin budget of £80.6m, and net assets of £4.1b.
Children blog
L & D4

5. Update from the CLoG L & D Community Forum

And the prize for the most recent post on the L & D Community Forum goes to…Jacqui Ward. You’ll have to look for yourself to see the date.  Go and visit the forum for an update on the next L & D day and specifically the confirmed attendance of Greg Clark.

The Forum has 34 members, and I’ll be sending out a new round of invitations following this blog in case any more of you want to sign up. If you are registered why not log in, read the existing posts and add one of your own? If you’re not registered, it only takes a few seconds. You need to:

  1. Register for a Google account if you don’t already have one (if you have Gmail you do already have one).
  2. Make sure you’re logged into your Google account.
  3. Respond to the invitation to join the L & D Forum when it comes round (check your junk email folder, and let me know if you don’t receive the invite at all and I can add you personally).



Career Charter Cartoon

What is the Career Charter?

Tom Walker launched the Career Charter at the last L&D Away Day, and a group of us have been beavering (careering?) away ever since to turn words into action.  The Career Charter has taken the form of three specific workstreams:

  • CAREER CONVERSATIONS: Douglas Leckie and Philip Carr are encouraging everyone to have quarterly discussions with their line managers about their careers.
  • MENTORING: Iain McNab, Tom Tyler and Mick Lazarus are our new “Mentoring Champions”, ready to help you if you either want to find a mentor, or want to become a mentor.
  • SHADOWING: Donald Bogle and David Henson are ensuring that you have the opportunity to shadow someone.

Some Reflections from Rowena Limb…

Rowena Limb
Looking back on my career there are a few places where I could have tripped myself up fatally.   Are you doing the same?

Are your ambitions too low?

I distinctly remember how excited I was to meet my first SEO – in his large room with shag pile carpet – and thinking it would be really fantastic to be a Grade 7 by the time I retired.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do about my career for a while having become a G7 before I was 30.   We won’t all make Permanent Secretary or have an entirely Civil Service career, but equally don’t sell yourself short.

Are you avoiding a job because of the line manager?

A job of my dreams (well a promotion in an interesting area) came up but I had pushed it aside as I did not want to work for the line manager.  I have two reflections here. First no one stays around for ever.  That line manager left a month after I got the job and I found myself on tp.  Equally importantly you don’t really know what someone is like to work with until you have done it.  If you want that job then prepare yourself the best you can and put the application in.

What should I do next?

  1. Read the guides for more information.

The CLoG Career Charter – Career Conversations

The CLoG Career Charter – Mentoring

The CLoG Career Charter – Shadowing

2. Complete the survey to tell us what you are already doing and what you want more of:

CLoG Career Charter Survey

3. Make sure you prioritise time for a career conversation with your line manager – the start of a new reporting year is a great time to review your career goals.

4. Get in touch with any of the theme leads if there is something specific you are after. I’ll bake banana bread for the quirkiest career request!

Kate Cornford

Some Reflections from Louise Morgan…

Louise Morgan

It will come as no surprise to those of  you I’ve spoken to that I have an extremely annoying habit of expressing myself almost entirely in terms of song lyrics or straplines. And my views on careers and personal development are no exception:

THE ROAD IS LONG, WITH MANY A WINDING TURN: develop a sense of where you want to get to – the type of role or what would give you most pleasure to read in your obituary and pace yourself; you don’t have to achieve everything you want by 30, 40, or 60.  Most importantly, do something fun. The Civil Service is such a privileged place to be: it is by far the most interesting, challenging, rewarding and fun job I’ve ever had.

BE YOURSELF WITH SKILL: For me, “authentic leadership” is about being true to yourself – being self-aware and genuine, but also seeking to continually polish the edges. So I also think of William Hague (Chief People Officer at HMRC, not our erstwhile Foreign Secretary) who says: “be yourself with skill”.  It’s about constantly looking for opportunities to work on your shortcomings and hone your strengths.

DON’T SELF-SABOTAGE: I could have looked the job description for the Cities Policy Unit role four years ago and concluded I wasn’t qualified to apply.  Then when they accidentally scheduled the interview whilst I was on holiday, I could have given up. But I took a chance and gave it my best shot. The rest is history.  In the words of Kate Winslet in that well-known careers advice movie, The Holiday: “You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life!” – put your hand up and go for it.

JUST KEEP SWIMMING: Of course there are tough times, in any job.  Those days, I try to remember Dory’s sage advice: just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Some Reflections from Gareth Bradford…

Gareth Bradford

I grew up in Exmouth, went to Swansea Uni (rugby and seaside) and did a Geography Degree. At the end of the second year I broke my leg in three places. It was a huge turning point in my life and taught me something key – you never know what is round the corner so be flexible in your career. I did some volunteering at a city council planning department and…they paid me! I then did work experience at Devon County Council and they offered me a job on my last day. Put your foot through the door and see where it takes you!

I was then lucky enough to win a Government bursary to do an MSc in Planning, did various roles in Devon and eventually was in charge of infrastructure planning. I was a finalist in young planner of the year, met Steve Quartermain and decided there and then I wanted to work for him. He happened to work in DCLG so that was it – I was going to find my way in. Big lesson – think as much who you want to work for as what the job is. The rest I suppose is history – NPPF, neighbourhood planning, Localism Act. Then as many of you know I joined No10 as the PM’s adviser on housing, planning and local government but getting stuck into everything I could. It was a time I absolutely loved and taught me so much – just ask, power of elevator pitches, the importance of a team and a great sounding board, how senior politicians face the most difficult decisions and so much more. I left with a huge amount of respect for politicians and a desire to return to my passion – development, regeneration, local government and making change happen on the ground. And that brings me to here.

Well that’s all ok I hear you say but what are your big career lessons? I think a few are – really try and have a support structure that keeps you sane and in balance (I have got this wrong at times in my career and really regretted it); just ask and people will help you; I always aimed to just get better on every skill and competency I could think of rather than having too much of a plan (see broken leg and somehow making it to No10!). I always look for roles that would get me out of bed in mornings and put a smile on my face. I would strongly recommend constantly asking for feedback and acting on it – it really has helped me build my confidence. We all make mistakes so don’t worry about having a go – that is the only way real innovation happens.