Welcome to September’s L & D blog…
The first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series aired on 8 September 1966, exactly fifty years ago. The franchise is an entertainment phenomenon and cultural icon, inspiring thirteen feature films and seven television series so far.
Gene Roddenberry, the show’s creator, modelled it on Gulliver’s Travels, intending each episode to work both as an adventure story and as a morality tale. Fun and content. Interesting and worthwhile. What better metaphor could there be for the CLoG approach to learning and development?
More specifically, the first series of Star Trek intentionally featured mixed race (and, indeed, mixed species) casts, a deliberate challenge to the divisions which beset American society with particular intensity in the 1960s and 1970s. Subsequent incarnations of the show have continued to promote tolerance, peace, altruism and respect in their storylines. CLoG L & D day on diversity and inclusion anyone?
In This Edition…
1. CLoG Activities
2. BEIS and DCLG Opportunities
3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews
1. CLoG Activities
The CLoG Learning and Development Day – Diversity and Inclusion
Tuesday 4 October, 1 Victoria Street Conference Centre.
It’s going to be great. Details in your calendar appointment.
Lessons From London
Friday 14 October
Robin Froggatt-Smith is putting on some in house L & D. This session will cover the experience of the GLA in London, and what it can teach us as we implement devolution deals and mayors are elected in other English cities. Also what London might learn from this process as the new mayor’s administration pushes for further powers.
Get in touch with Robin for more details.
2. BEIS Opportunities
The BEIS transition
Parental Support Group: Challenges of, and top-tips on, being a working parent
This informal catch up provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges of, and top-tips on, being a working parent. Although this event has a particular theme, any issues facing working parents can raised and discussed. Hope you can join us, either in person or by phone.
For more information on this and other activities of the Parental Support Group email: BIS.PSGroup@bis.gsi.gov.uk
Hands on Science: NPL’s novel satellite technology applications
Novel satellite technology applications, come and see NPL’s demonstrations at the Community Corner, BEIS 1 Victoria Street.
‘Buy in BEIS’ Procurement Drop-in: 5 October
5 October 2016, 3:30 pm
Introduction to Benefits Management
6 October 2016, 2:00 pm
The seminar is an introductory session to benefit management. It will explain what benefits are and what benefits management is.
Introduction to Energy Security
7 October 2016, 10:00 am
The seminar will consider how National Grid deal with peaks in demand, what will happen this Winter, the impact of renewables on security of supply and the plans in place to ensure secure supplies for the future.
Induction into Energy and Climate Change
10 October 2016, 10:00 am
This seminar is for all staff new to BEIS and existing staff who need an overview of the work of the Department.
Introduction to Energy and Climate Change Statistics
11 October 2016, 10:00 am
This seminar is for all staff new to BEIS and existing staff who need an overview of energy and climate change statistics.
Mental Health First Aid
11 October 2016, 11:00 am
This short course provides an introduction to mental health first aid, aimed at individuals who are responsible for staff or people who simply want to improve their knowledge around mental health.
Introducing GRaD, the Governance Reform and Democracy Unit (Lewis Newbury)
Hopefully, many of you will already know the team in GRaD. We are the team that have responsibility to implement the legislation to deliver the devolution deals that have been agreed between Government and local areas (except Cornwall, which doesn’t need any legislation). We work closely with CLoG colleagues when developing the legislation.
So far we have delivered, with your ongoing assistance, mayors for Sheffield, Tees Valley, West Midlands and Liverpool, and a PCC mayor for Greater Manchester. We hope to give Tees Valley a Mayoral Development Corporation for the SSI site soon! This is only the beginning – we are busy working on a whole suite of other orders conferring powers on the devolution deal areas.
We are relatively new to joining Simon’s group in the grand scheme of things as we used to be a part of Local Government Policy Directorate (our divorce has been amicable and we see the kids regularly). We are getting to grips with the structure of CLoG, including the devolution strategy team and the policy teams who are helping us to forge wider links across Whitehall and the Local teams who are helping us engage with the deal areas. We are keen to develop our links further and we thought that a good way to do this would be to hear from you at our unit meetings, so we will shortly be getting in contact with different policy areas to suggest this which we hope will be a positive collaboration for Learning and Development. We are, of course, happy to reciprocate.
Lastly, I should take this moment to shamelessly market our new and reformed group email address which should be used for any queries that don’t have a specific home or if you’re not sure who they should go to: email@example.com and of course the offer of coming and sitting with us still stands, it would be nice to see some new faces around our team.
What you need to know about Judicial Review
Monday 3 October, 4-5pm, 2 Marsham Street.
The Government Legal Department and GRAD are delivering a specially-developed workshop for CLoG and BEIS Local colleagues working on devolution and local government reorganisation. It will cover:
- Lawful decision-making and Judicial Review
- What is a JR; why they are brought?
- What happens when a JR is triggered
- Implications and managing risk
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
DCLG Library Services
Did you know that you can access a wide range of information to support research and evidence-based policy from your desktop?
The e-library provides access to over 15,000 full-text electronic journals, academic databases for searching journal articles and reports, and other specialist resources on parliamentary information and news sources.
Books and reference journals
The small physical library is located in Fry Building, 1/NW. You can search for books and digitized Departmental publications on the Library catalogue. If we do not hold publications in the library or online we may still be able to acquire them through interlibrary loan or purchase.
Enquiries and research
Finding the right information can be time consuming. Our team of information specialists can help you track down references, advise you on sources and search strategies, or carry out literature searches on your behalf.
Library staff can provide you with further guidance and training on aspects of the e-library, such as subject searching on academic databases or setting up tailored news alerts on subjects of interest. We can also arrange briefings at Divisional and Directorate meetings or training on using our resources for small groups.
Please look at the intranet for our location and other information. Please do not hesitate to contact Tim or Alyson via the InfoPoint telephone on 0303 44 42222 or e-mail Infopoint if you have any further queries.
Mon 3 October – 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Tue 4 October – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Wed 5 October – 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Thur 6 October – 2:00pm – 4:00pm
This workshop will help you better understand how we engage and work with faith communities, what hate crime is and what DCLG does about this.
Check out the full October offering here.
3. Across the Country…and Beyond
New Civil Service Approch to Corporate Induction
This new interactive website provides a a helpful reminder for us and there are lots of useful suggestions for induction more generally (username: civilservant, password: welcome). You can also find out about the history of the Civil Service, including Charles II’s band of “rough and ill-natured men” who have evolved into our colleagues at HMT!
Expanding the role of universities in their local economies: devolution, skills and growth
Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar
Morning, Thursday, 8th December 2016, Central Manchester
- Jacqui Ward, Deputy Director, Local Growth Policy and Delivery, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- Kevin Richardson, Local Growth Consultant, HEFCE
- Robin Foale, Santander Universities UK
- Professor Ellie Hamilton, Lancaster University
- Professor Mike Hinton, High Value Manufacturing Catapult
- Matthew Rhodes, Encraft and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
- Professor David Smallbone, Kingston University London
- Tristan Watson, Ignite Accelerator
Next steps for local economic growth – funding, infrastructure and the future of LEPs
Westminster Social Policy Forum Keynote Seminar
Morning, Wednesday, 14th December 2016, Central London
- Tom Walker, Director, Cities & Local Growth Unit
- Paul Marsh, Head of Projects and Finance, Regeneration Investment Organisation, UK Trade & Investment
- Aileen Murphie, Director, Department for Communities and Local Government and Local Government Value for Money, National Audit Office
- Irene Graham, Chief Executive Officer, Scale-Up Institute
- Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank
- Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council
- Professor Martin Boddy, University of the West of England
- Paul Hammond, Mott MacDonald
- James Sproule, Institute of Directors
Europe and its Neighbourhood, Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management in the 21st Century
Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs
14 November 2016, 09.00-17:30, Royal Society of Arts, London.
- Staffan de Mistura
- Wadah Khanfar
- Dr Karin von Hippel
- Intissar Kherigi
- Louise Arbour
- Elizabeth Collett
- Giles Portman
- Mark Malloch-Brown
The second annual conference on Europe and its Neighbourhood organised in partnership with International Crisis Group and Al Sharq Forum will assess the effectiveness and external perceptions of Europe’s collective and national-level responses to the crisis in its neighbourhood and consider how Europe can use its political and social capacity to manage the current crisis environment.
Further information and registration details can be found here.
Women and Breakthrough Leadership
Next Available Date: 18th October, £750 + VAT
This highly practical programme addresses the issues and the challenges women face in leadership, offering advice and approaches based on what is proven to work well in terms of leading and managing. More details here.
Emotional Intelligence Leadership
Next Available Date: 24th October, £1,150 + VAT
This one-day workshop introduces the key concepts of emotional intelligence and equips those in senior positions with the skills and knowledge to lead their teams through times of challenge. More details here.
Getting the Best From People: 8 Ways To Empathise And Motivate In Difficult Times
Available to be delivered In-House
This half day course is designed to help participants make the most out of the eight key ways to enhance empathy and motivation. More details here.
Turning Your Team Into Heroes
Next Available Date: 26th October, £595 + VAT
This brand new course presents a unique way of addressing the age-old problem of getting the best out of staff. More details here.
The Civil Service College Data Series
- Big Data and how to use it
- How to visualise data
- How to demystify data
It’s all here.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations Work Shadowing Scheme
Applications are open until 16 October for the next round of placements. Details here: national-council-for-voluntary-organisations-work-shadowing-scheme
HMT’s “Thought Experiment”
- Angus Deaton on using evidence well, 6 Oct, 11am, Audit Left, 1 HGR
- Ian Goldin on globalisation and development, 7 Oct, 1pm, Churchill Rm, 100PS
- Raj Chetty on improving equality of opportunity, 26 Oct,2pm, Churchill Rm, 100PS
- John Hills on welfare myths, 7 Nov, 1pm, Audit Left, 1HGR
- Winnie Byanyima on global poverty, 11 Nov, 1pm, Audit Left, 1 HGR
- Muhammad Yunus on microfinance, 30 Nov, Time TBC, Audit Left, 1HGR
Details here: thought-experiment-autumn-2016.
Email Damien Conyngham-Hynes if you’d like to be put on the mailing list.
4. News and Reviews
The CLoG Learning and Development Day – July 2016 – Engaging with Business
As October’s L & D day approaches, let us take a moment to remember the excellence of the last one. Among other highlights, it featured the following:
- Tom Walker on the confidence we should have in both our reputation and our agenda despite the political uncertainties which were particularly apparent on the day, foresight which has been fully borne out by all subsequent developments as the new government has been getting its feet under the table.
- Greg Clark: cities are hugely important and at a critical phase of their development, 1/3 of the way through a move towards 90% urbanisation and stable world population by 2080. Did we all realise that cities actually have their roots in business, and not – shock, horror – in the wise and beneficent coordinating activities of Government? How can cities and businesses work more effectively together to help each other thrive?
- Johnny Hayes MBE, from City of York Council, talked us through the transformation of Bushy Road in York
- Kate Willard, Head of Corporate Projects, Stobart Group – discussed what business wants from government, and how government can provide it. To be specific, she thought what business want above all else is: a safe, happy and skilled workforce; return for investors; sustainable and ethical operations.
- Karime Hassan, Chief Executive and Growth Director at Exeter City Council, described how his local council has been transformed to make it all about growth. Self-reliance rather than grant-relianace. Can do attitude, meeting businesses directly and doing whatever was needed to pave the way to investment and growth.
The Gloucestershire Awayday, 15-16 September (Katie Jenkins)
We had a group of nine on an overnight visit based at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, and all who attended found it useful and had a good time.
Activity one was the LEP Annual Review. It was brilliant, a mix of interview-style segments and snazzy videos showcasing current and future projects. LEP Board members had to wear high viz and hard hats to go along with the construction theme – and some of them were very comfortable up on stage playing to the crowd of some 350 attendees. Ian Durston from Swindon and Wiltshire LEP joined us on the day and was mightily impressed.
Activity two was visits to the two college sites. I was pushing for some kind of sign on the door of the science lab in the smart new STEM building we/GFirst funded at Cirencester College. The Katie Jenkins chemistry lab has a nice ring to it. The LEP and I are still trying to get Margot James along to officially open it on 21 October.
Activity three was a visit to Berkeley. It’s a cyber, engineering and Green energy hub, being built to green standards as well as being there to deliver GREEN (Glos Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear) skills. The project promoters, Stroud and South Gloucestershire College, were cock-a-hoop about the Hinckley decision, for obvious reasons. They were also keen for us to understand how GREEN will integrate with the UTC also on site, both physically and in terms of the learning journey, and excited about the strong private sector interest they are already receiving for the wider Science Park also on site.
All that remains is for me to thank Katie Tite profusely for all her help with the logistics – she was totally on the ball and the day couldn’t have happened without her.
Policy School III – Blackpool (Alice Rutherford)
The third Cities and Local Growth Policy school in Blackpool was the first to be attended by Colleagues from OGDs working on Devolution and Local Growth working together around a single policy question: how to solve the unique housing problems of Blackpool?
In Blackpool we saw both the glittering highs – the Strictly ballroom and Blackpool Illuminations – and the sobering lows – neglected B&Bs, a dying local high street and a back alley murder spot. Armed with a wealth of information supplied by the Local Residents association, the Chief Executive of Blackpool County Council and housing officials from Blackpool Housing Company, each of the teams set about answering the key question for the two days.
We identified three key causes to tackle in our recommendations: the burgeoning availability of low quality bedsits in converted bed and breakfasts used to ‘harvest’ housing benefit; the high proportion of people arriving in Blackpool ‘for a fresh start’ to escape debt, drug or alcohol problems; and, the lack of land available to build new housing.
The two days were incredibly valuable as both a reminder of the tangible effects our work has, and the value of devolution for local areas with unique and varied needs. The team did a fantastic job organising the event and linking up with Blackpool council and Lancashire LEP to provide an incredibly useful and insightful two days to grapple with tricky policy questions.
John Millar some further reflections:
I think it fair to say that the challenges the area faces made a profound impression on all who attended. I think the key issues facing the area are:
- How can you craft a future for the world’s first seaside resort catering for mass tourism when you have such a significant decline in those prepared to stay there overnight?
- Can devolution help local partners tackle high levels of deprivation and low levels of educational attainment and a lack of significant private sector employment – particularly at a time when the local authority’s financial settlement is reducing?
- How can the area attract investment to help with economic diversification?
- How can individual community groups be encouraged to do something about their own neighbourhoods given the cumulative effect of empty buildings, shuttered up shops and a significant number of people in poverty and needing support to tackle a range of issues including mental health and drug addiction?
We were impressed by how supportive the local authority were – not only were their officers a vital part of our group work but we had presentations from key managers and the council’s leader – (in the tower ballroom no less – if you have never been go!) and we were presenting our conclusions to a panel consisting of Simon Ridley, the Vice Chair of the LEP, the Council’s leader, the Cabinet housing lead and their Chief Executive! So no pressure then!
The second day of the school was intense as the five groups had to summarise all their learning on the first day and make some recommendations on how the area could achieve a more balanced housing market. There are no easy answers here but we all thought that there has to be some link between benefit and housing quality, devolution of powers and money not just from Whitehall to the area but from the area to individual communities and an increased effort to attract new employers to the area to reduce reliance on tourism.
Everyone both worked hard and had fun – thanks to Mick Allen, Kate Jones and Callum Whittaker for all their hard work on preparing such a useful event – as well as to Blackpool Council and the hotel staff.
Robin Froggatt-Smith also reflected on the two days:
New to Government, this was my first experience of Policy School. I half expected to receive a housing policy textbook and a lecture on methods. Instead we got full and frank views from officers over two days in Blackpool. Not only for this reason is Policy School a bit of a misnomer! Rather than a classroom exercise, it was an acceleration of the work we do every day – concentrating on a place, figuring out how Government can work with local experts, speeding up policy development to fit local needs – invaluable to new joiners and officials who want to know about the Unit. Even for those who’ve worked on this agenda for years, it’s a chance to step away from your emails and focus on one issue. And most importantly, it is to see policy consequences (in Blackpool’s case unintended consequences) with your own eyes. The walk to Kirby Road and down Central Drive will stay with me much longer than any slide, and gave me a more instinctive understanding of Blackpool’s challenges. These are many: 8.5k new benefit claimants a year helping to fill 3.5k Houses of Multiple Occupancy in the most deprived area in England. Therefore of course the policy question was not definitively answered, but this experience was less ‘school’ and more real partnership working between Blackpool and London, of the kind kick-starts solutions. I won’t forget it!
The Strategic Head of Development at Blackpool Council, Antony Lockley, had this to say:
The recent Policy School in Blackpool was a collective success and undoubtedly worth the investment of time and organisation. It was terrific to see officers drawn from across the different tiers of government grappling with the real public policy challenges confronting a very distinctive place. Place is where challenges and solutions truly come alive, and I could see that translate into the energy demonstrated by each of the teams. Valuable new ideas were fashioned across the two days, but the real benefit of the event is the initiation of conversations, relationships and learning that will extend long into the future.
And the Blackpool Council officers who took part commented as follows:
The Policy School provided a brilliant opportunity for us as Local Government Officers to engage at a more central level with our colleagues from DCLG, BEIS and other departments. Working within a town like Blackpool, which has a host of complex needs and issues, we often end up sat within a little bubble, working with the same approaches and coming up with similar ideas. Bringing 23 new perspectives to the table helped to momentarily burst that bubble.
I’d like to think the integration of our Council team members helped to generate a two-way learning process across the two days. Whilst I know it was useful for us to work alongside our departmental colleagues and view the different ways of thinking various units employ when tackling problems, I hope it was also of use to our colleagues to see how we operate locally alongside our community to address issues within and beyond our boundaries.
I think it’s safe to say that we all felt it was an enlightening experience, and an opportunity we’d take again if the opportunity arose. We even managed to send people away thinking Blackpool stays warm and sunny well into September, which rarely happens, so we might even manage a little boost to our visitor economy too!
Simon Ridley was very impressed. You can read his blog about it here if you missed it.