January’s L & D Blog

Happy New Year and welcome to January’s Learning and Development Blog.

I think it is fair to say that last year did not end on the happiest of notes, with many beloved talents having passed away over the holiday period. The passing of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, a mere day apart, was especially saddening. However, the iconic work (and as a result: genuine joy) that they leave us with is worth celebrating. From Fisher’s instantly recognisable role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise to Reynolds’ career-defining role in Singing in the Rain, the mother-daughter duo were equal parts fascinating, hilarious and larger than life both on and off-screen. As such, I hope you enjoy some of the quotes and photos below.


Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher in 1956. Carrie Fisher was born on October 21, 1956 and was instantly thrust into the Hollywood culture as her parents were singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Photograph: Jack Albin/Getty Images

In this Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BEIS and DCLG events
3. CLoG and beyond: speakers and events
4. News and Reviews
  1. CLoG Activities

Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming telekits, forums and policy schools – I have no doubt that 2017’s offerings will be as varied and interesting as 2016’s. In the meantime, save the date: following on from the success of the last L & D day, the unit’s next one will be held on March 22 2017. Further details will be available closer to the time.


Fisher, three, gives Reynolds a hug in their home in West Los Angeles in 1959. On Oprah, Fisher said: ‘I believe my mother knows now but if she doesn’t, it would be good if she did: that I take her advice, that I follow her example, that I respect who she is … and if I’m like her in any way then I’m happy that I am.’ Photograph: LA Times via Getty Images

  1. DCLG and BEIS

Legal Awareness Session: Public Sector Equality Duty – A Core Curriculum Event

Tuesday 24 January 2017, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Sign up for an interactive legal awareness workshop designed to help you recognise and develop an understanding of some of the most commonly encountered legal issues across the department’s work.

“PSED?  That’s just a form we have to fill in at the end of the policy process isn’t it?” What is PSED?  And how does it affect my policy?  Come to a new interactive session designed to walk you through the policy process, thinking about a sensible approach to PSED each step of the way.

Please click here to book a place.

10 things you need to know about statistics

Thursday 26 January – 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Come along to find out more about the collection, interpretation and organisation of data. This is an introductory course designed for non-analysts. Click here to book a place.

Intermediate Excel Practical Session – A Core Curriculum Event

Monday 30 January 2017 – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

In this session you take on the role of an analyst for a fictional company. You will be given a limited dataset which you will transform into a more complete dataset, to then turn into a good looking, easy to understand, dashboard. You will learn how to analyse a dataset, coming up with metrics, charts and conditional formatting, learning to check your work as you go. We’ll cover intermediate to complex formulas. Suitable for those with some basic, practical, knowledge of Excel.

Please click here to book a place


Reynolds and Fisher at the School Benefit at Town Hall in New York, 1972. ‘I think we’ve always been open and honest – that’s why we didn’t get along,’ Reynolds said in 2010. ‘As a parent you must give your opinion. And if that causes a breach, then it causes a breach. Carrie and I have disagreements and stalemates, but we still walk away loving each other.

Photograph: Ron Galella/Getty Images

Career Advice Session – A Core Curriculum Event

Wednesday 1 February 2017 – 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

We are often so caught up in the battle of doing our day-to-day work that we don’t take the time to think about what we are learning as we go along. This session is a set of top tips that have been accrued and combined together, some of the best pieces of advice that have been received by civil servants or which civil servants want to share with their colleagues. It’s short, it’s informal and you’ll hopefully take away one or two things that will help you to think differently about how you work.

Please click here to book a place

Time to Talk – A Core Curriculum Event

Thursday 2 February 2017, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

Time to Talk is about giving us all the chance to talk about mental health. Every conversation, text and share means that more people are reached and more lives are changed.

Join us on 2nd February and let’s get talking! Details here.


Debbie Reynolds with her dog Dwight in Beverly Hills, California, in May 2013. In 2016 she was awarded the Jean Hersholt humanitarian award at the Academy Awards – given to an individual whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry – for her work helping to combat and increase awareness of mental health issues.

DCLG Economic and Social Research (ESR) Seminars – London

Affordability and home-ownership: Policy options & constraints

Tuesday 17 January – 12:30-13:30


Does England now want devolution too?

Thursday 09 February – 12:30-13:30


Inequalities in later life – reflections from the Centre for Ageing Better

Wednesday 01 March – 12:30-13:30


From market fixing to market making: Implications for smart and inclusive growth

Thursday 30 March 12:30-13:30


The economic case and evidence for greater infrastructure investment in the UK

Thursday 06 April – 12:30-13:30



Debbie Reynolds with Gene Kelly in the movie that turned the 19-year-old into a star. Photograph: Cinetext/Allstar


Analyse This!

9 January, 2017 10:30 am – 20 January, 2017 3:00 pm, London

Analyse This! is a series of events to help non-analysts get to grips with the big analytical challenges in the department and the wider economy in a fun and interactive way.

The programme includes analyst perspectives on hot topics like Brexit and ‘Is Uber being fare to drivers?’ There will also be two keynote sessions on key macroeconomic issues in 2017 and the department’s Industrial Strategy. Please book tickets via Eventbrite.

Induction into Energy and Climate Change

20 February, 2017 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

All staff new to BEIS and existing staff who need an overview of the work of the Department. More here.

The EU Emissions Trading System: The Market Tackles Climate Change Level 2

30 March, 2017 10:00 am

Staff who wish to understand cap and trade systems and in the context of EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), including what measures are being taken to revitalise the carbon price and the negotiations currently underway for reforming the EU ETS in time for the beginning of the next Phase, which starts in 2021. More here

3. CLoG and beyond

Cabinet Office

The Commissioning Academy: How public sector senior commissioners can apply for professional development opportunities through the new academy.

The Cabinet Office and its partners developed the Commissioning Academy as a unique development programme for senior leaders from all parts of the public sector. It is designed to equip a small group of professionals to tackle the challenges facing public services, take up new opportunities and commission the right outcomes for their communities. More information can be found here.


Fisher as the now iconic no-nonsense rebel leader Princess Leia in Star Wars. After starring in a few TV movies, Fisher returned to the galaxy far, far away with the “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” in 1980. Later, she was also highly sought after for her writing, which led to her publishing best-selling novels and becoming one of Hollywood’s go-to “script doctors” in the 1990s and 2000s.

WIG Industrial Strategy

Breakfast Briefing: Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI

DATE: Tuesday 17 January 2017

Book Now

Breakfast Briefing: Mark Russell, Chief Executive, UK Government Investments

DATE: Wednesday 25 January 2017

Book Now

WIG Smart Cities Forum              

Wednesday 01  March 2017

Book Now

Breakfast Briefing: View from the Board- Sir John Parker, Chairman, Anglo American   

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Book Now

Westminster Policy Forum

Funding for regional projects beyond the European Union referendum – partnerships, devolution and the transition of EU Structural and Investment Funds

9 February 2017, London

The agenda includes a keynote contribution from Iain Derrick, European Regional Development Fund Manager, European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 Policy Team, Department for Communities and Local Government.

Delegates will also examine latest thinking on the transition from European funding to a domestic approach, including how previous European funded activity can be made to most closely align with wider political priorities and local economic growth going forward, and consider other UK funding initiatives for growth, including the Government’s commitment to the Local Growth Fund, City Deals and further devolution. Details here

Next steps for regional development and the future of the Northern Powerhouse

Guest of Honour: Councillor Sean Anstee, Leader, Trafford Council

21 April 2017, Central Manchester

Details here

The full list of Westminster Policy Forum events can be found here.

Queen Mary University

In conversation at the Mile End Institute: Nick Clegg

Date: 26 January 2017

Venue: Skeel Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS

More info here

Inside Government

Upcoming events cover the Northern Powerhouse, housing supply and reducing the risk and impact of flooding – see the full list here.


Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford in the 2015 Star Wars reboot, Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Policy Issues Affecting the Bank of England

Monday 16 January 2017 6:30PM to 8:00PM

Mark Carney and Amartya Sen will discuss the challenges facing the Bank of England. Click here for further details

Local Economic Growth: do we know (or care) what works?

Wednesday 18 January 2017 6:30PM to 8:00PM

Hosted by LSE Works: What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth

Henry Overman discusses what we know about the effectiveness of different policies in driving local economic growth and asks what role, if any, this evidence plays in formulating policy.


Shortly after their deaths, HBO release a trailer for Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. The 94-minute film will explore the “story of the family’s complicated love,” and reveal “an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity”. Watch it here.

The Relationship between Inequality and Poverty: mechanisms and policy options

Wednesday 08 February 2017 6:30PM to 8:00PM

This lecture examines the empirical relationship between economic inequality and poverty across countries and over time, paying attention to different measurement issues. It then considers a range of potential mechanisms driving this relationship and explores policy options. Click here for further details

A Lecture by Ruth Davidson

Monday 13 February 2017, 6:30PM to 8:00PM

Ruth Davidson will use the lecture to speak about the fresh case for the United Kingdom in the wake of the Brexit vote. Click here for further details

4. News and Reviews: update from GRAD

Tour de Yorkshire

Our focus in GRAD for the past few months has been preparing Parliamentary Orders to implement the devolution deals, and as I write this, one of those Orders is being signed by Lord Bourne. However, we look after a number of other policy areas in GRAD too, so we thought we would use this opportunity to write about cycling…


We have been working with Harrogate Borough Council for the past year, so as to enable them to host the Tour de Yorkshire cycling race in 2017 without breaking laws dating back to 1770. We have been returning to the path that we last trod in 2014, when we enabled the Council to host a stage finish of the Tour de France across the Harrogate Stray – a large piece of land owned by the Duchy of Lancaster and managed by Harrogate Borough Council for the Duchy.

The work includes a Government consultation and a Parliamentary Order to temporarily amend a Private Act for the duration of the race. We are able to do this because of legislation surrounding the general power of competence – these are relatively new powers for Councils that encourage them to be innovative. The Parliamentary Order is now before Parliament, and has been considered by two Committees, one of which interrogated Vicky Jones and Sabine Stieber as part of their consideration of the Order!

Unless any MPs or Lords object, the Order will be made in early January, and the pelotons will be racing through Harrogate at the end of April – the stakes for Harrogate and Yorkshire are high, with £5 to 7 million expected to be generated from visitor spend, between £0.3 to £0.5 million from team media and organisational spend, and between 100,000 and 150,000 visitors to the District. To find out more, or if you fancy taking part!