March’s L & D Blog

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, easily one of the most important International Days celebrated by the UN and many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. This year’s theme is: Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.

The statistics relating to progress made in achieving gender parity, particularly in relation to work, are sometimes heartening but often deeply disappointing. For anyone interested, you can use this tool developed by ONS to track the gender pay gap in the UK. Fawcett Society has also created infographics highlighting how many ethnic minority women are particularly ‘left-behind’ by pay gap progress. Needless to say, efforts to change the world of work must continue.

Indeed, last month’s post touched upon ‘hidden figures’ and many of these individuals were women that have gone relatively uncelebrated in spite of their remarkable professional achievements. Imagine what we could learn if we had an opportunity to pick their brains!

As such, it has been a real pleasure to collate some thoughts from the many inspiring women that work in the Cities and Local Growth Unit! I asked colleagues to describe what their favourite job roles have been, share the best advice they have been given and would pass on to others, and to pick a woman that inspires them and explain why. I hope you enjoy reading the responses as much as I did.

Happy International Women’s Day, one and all.

In this Edition…

  1. CLoG Activities
  2. IWD events and opportunities for women
  3. BEIS and DCLG
  4. CLoG and beyond
  5. News and Reviews

Michelle Obama_1

A popular choice – Michelle Obama, chosen by:

Rowena Limb

What do you do in the unit?

Lead the cross Whitehall work on the Midlands Engine and run the East Midlands and South East Midlands Cities and Local Growth team.

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

This one which is why I am still doing it. From No 10 to a small innovative business on a scruffy trading estate in one day. What could be better?

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

Received – Fill your kit bag with experience and expertise so you know whether the experts are helping you. Pass on – Do something you love and try and do it well.

A woman that inspires you and why: Michelle Obama – how did she always make me feel so positive even when she wasn’t saying anything?

1. CLoG Activities

Data Training

The Growth and Places Analysis Team recently ran a Data Training workshop for staff. The session was a short, useful guide for CLoG staff on how to access reliable and up-to-date official statistics for local areas / constituencies / LEPs through the NOMIS website. If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint guide please email Danny Turner on

Quiet Leadership and what it means to CLoG

Here are some slides (200202-quiet-leadership-slides) on Quiet Leadership and why it matters for the Cities and Local Growth Unit. They contain an overview of what quiet leadership means, the evidence behind it, the issues it raises for us in the workplace and the Unit’s commitments to supporting all forms of leadership as part of its diversity and inclusion pledge. Importantly, it also suggests some core learning that both individuals and teams are encouraged to complete over the coming year to find out more about their own personality types and how best they can work with others. If you want more to find out more feel free to contact Pete Northover, Claire Denniss or Kirsty Pearce.

Mentoring in Cambridge

Career development outside London is often an issue that is raised by colleagues. Shan Lloyd and colleagues have therefore set up a new mentoring scheme in the Cambridge office. Mentoring is a really effective way of helping with career development and progression. The mentee can gain huge amounts from discussing issues with their mentor, gaining fresh perspective, being encouraged to think through solutions and planning strategies to move things forward. Being a mentor can also be very rewarding, not only for personal development but if is a real joy to watch and support someone to develop and grow in their career. This new scheme is open to all civil servants in the Cambridge office, covering a whole range of Government Departments and other partner organisations including Legal Aid Services, DEFRA, Arts Council, HCA and many others. This new mentoring scheme will also help with greater networking between the different departments locally.

Anita Roddick

Anita Roddick, chosen by:

Shân Lloyd

What do you do in the unit?

Area Lead in Norfolk and Suffolk (New Anglia LEP area)

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

Trustee for Home-Start Cambridgeshire. Home-Start is the UK’s leading family support charity, a voluntary organisation offering support to families who have at least one child under five when family life becomes difficult through isolation, postnatal illness, multiple births, disability, bereavement or those who are just finding parenting a struggle. I love being able to directly influence the direction of the organisation and make a positive difference to the lives of children and parents. It also gives me great experience and new opportunities.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others? Life is short so focus on the things that really matter

A woman that inspires you and why: I’m always inspired by many women I meet on a day-to-day basis who are positive and supportive while juggling a million different roles but if I had to pick one women then it would be Anita Roddick, founder of Body Shop – a risk taking entrepreneur, strong leader and primary carer to her young family who stayed true to her values – she opened my eyes to wider world issues.

Devolution Learning Week

Monday 13 March – Friday 17 is ‘Devolution Learning Week’ from 13th March. This will be marked by a programme of events designed to build Civil Servants’ understanding of how the devolution settlements in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland affect their work. With Brexit, IndyRef, Assembly elections and more, there’s never been a better time to boost your knowledge of how the UK devolution settlement works.

There are several events taking place in DCLG to promote awareness of UK devolution:

BEIS will also be marking the week through the following events, again open to all CLoG staff:

  • On Thursday 16th there will be a panel session on EU Exit and Devolution. Panel members will be the 2 EU Exit directors from BEIS – Emma Ward and Susannah Simon – alongside Sarah Maclean, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Office’s UK Governance and Devolution Team, and Chris Walker, Deputy Director of the DExEU Devolution Team
  • On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 14:00-15:00 on the 5th floor square in 1VS there will be drop in sessions with members of the BEIS devolution team. Again – there may be swag!

There will be blogs on both intranets throughout the week.

James is an alumnus of the Cabinet Office’s UK Devolution Team and is very happy to deliver short (~20 minute) presentations about the basics of UK devolution for team meetings etc. Please get in touch with him if this is something you’d like to arrange.

Lips choir

Women of Lips Choir:

Chosen by:

Julia Wilcox

What do you do in the unit?

Skills policy lead in the Labour Markets team

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

Deputy Prime Minister’s office working as his policy and economic advisor. Working at the heart of government with excellent people and a great supportive, collaborative and empowering working environment

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

more advice I’d like to pass on rather than necessarily best advice ever – Don’t apologise or downgrade what you say, e.g. starting a sentence with sorry or using ‘umm’ or ‘kind of’ excessively as it will reduce your impact

A woman that inspires you and why

most of the women in my choir. They work hard at their jobs but all also work hard as feminist activists and to support women who are affected by the asylum system as well as being excellent singers. Very empowering to be part of that community.

Correspondence training

Sam McCaffrey and Catherine Newbitt-Jones from the Unit’s Communications Hub will deliver a correspondence training session for colleagues in Bristol on the 15th of March, with a view to replicating this in teams in other regions.

Learning and Development Day

Our next L&D Day will take place in just a couple of weeks on Wednesday 22nd March, 10.30am – 4pm in the 1VS Conference Centre, on the theme of Renewal. Book your train tickets, dig out those cake recipes and keep an eye on your inboxes for the full agenda and workshop sign up soon…

JK Rowling

JK Rowling, chosen by:

Leila Mottahedeh

What do you do in the unit?

I am the Deputy Area Lead for the Liverpool City Region, and part of the Northern Powerhouse Team – all of which I deliver on a part-time working pattern.

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

My favourite role has been working with a team of Trade Sector advisors in what used to be HM Customs & Excise. The team comprised of 12 private sector experts from various industries, from Banking to Telecoms, who developed policy using horizon scanning methods. My role was to provide them with evidence based research. I learnt an amazing amount from them on their respective sectors.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

Two pieces of advice that have stayed with me and that I have shared with my mentees…

In delivering presentations – you can’t always please everyone. In a room of 10 people there will be 1 person that doesn’t like your presentation, but it’s the 9 that did that count. (I guess this could be applied to many things in life.)

In interviews – sometimes a little arrogance goes a long way. Have confidence because you can do it!

A woman that inspires you and why

This may be a little predictable but JK Rowling is my inspiration. I follow her on twitter and find her absolutely spot on with her comments and thoughts. She stands up to bullies, reflects on the positives of having imperfections (Failure is good because you learn from it) and has an amazing sense of humour. I also love her Harvard Commencement speech which in itself is a must watch for anyone unsure of what life holds for them. I showed it my 10yr old and he now thinks that the author of the Harry Potter books is a hero!

2. International Women’s Day events and opportunities for women


Lady Barbara Judge: Inspirational Speakers series

23 March, 2017 1:00 pm

BEIS Women’s Network is delighted to present a talk by Lady Barbara Judge CBE, chair of the UK Institute of Directors (IoD), as part of our Inspiring Speaker series and programme of activity for International Women’s Day in March.

Crossing Thresholds: Career Mentoring for Women

Crossing Thresholds (CT) is a year-long career mentoring programme for women who want to develop their career in a structured and supportive environment. It is aimed at women who want the time, space and support to explore the next steps in their career and helps you be clearer about your career goals and how to achieve them. Additional information about the programme can be found here.

Programme start dates and locations are as follows:

AO/EO  Starting Thu 27th Apr 2017 in Glasgow

HEO/SEO  Starting Wed 29th Mar 2017 in Bristol Starting Tue 9th May 2017 in London Starting Wed 17th May 2017 in Birmingham Starting Mon 22nd May 2017 in Bristol Starting Mon 22nd May 2017 in Newcastle Starting Wed 24th May 2017 in Manchester Starting Mon 12th Jun 2017 in Belfast Starting Wed 14th Jun 2017 in Leeds Starting Wed 19th Jul 2017 in London

Grade 6/7  Starting Tue 21st Mar 2017 in Bristol Starting Tue 25th Apr 2017 in Glasgow Starting Wed 26th Apr 2017 in London Starting Tue 2nd May 2017 in London Starting Wed 10th May 2017 in Cardiff

Jessica Ennis Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill, chosen by:

Naomi Green

What do you do in the unit?

I am currently the Area Lead for the South East Midlands, but I am soon to join the LEP Policy and Local Growth Communications team.

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

My favourite job was leading DfT’s response to the PM’s (then Gordon Brown) housing growth challenge. DfT needed to start supporting housing growth and better planning and funding transport to align with the country’s housing needs. I left the job to go on maternity leave – and now, 7 years later, the debate around transport and housing continues! It was a great job because it felt like an insolvable challenge (I love a puzzle) and I got to work directly for an amazing, and inspirational Director General – a lady who was the perfect example of the power of quiet leadership!

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others? Always look forward, never look back.

A woman that inspires you and why

It doesn’t have a lot of depth – but Jessica Ennis Hill, a lady who wasn’t fazed by how a baby would affect her career, she took a big risk to return to athletics after having a child, and we all loved her for it.

South Bank Women of the World (WOW) series

Missing From History

10:00 am, 7 Mar 2017 – 12 Mar 2017

Celebrate disabled heroines who have been written out of history in this WOW series

Women’s Day at WOW

6:45 pm, 8 Mar 2017

Six women from six continents give their top three predictions for the next 12 months


7:30 pm, 8 Mar 2017

Celebrate writing by LGBT women in this collaborative event between Polari and WOW

Women, Power and Change

9:30 am, 10 Mar 2017

What do the events of the last 12 months mean for women and girls?

What does Brexit mean for women?

11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017

Debate the pros and cons of the Brexit result with leading UK political voices

One Planet, Double Standards

11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017

Hear from women leaders in sustainability and environmental policy, locally and internationally

Womenomics: The State of Women in the Global Economy

11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017

What barriers do women face in getting their hangs on the purse strings?

WOW Mass Speed Mentoring

3:00 pm, 10 Mar 2017

Join our mass speed-mentoring session to share your challenges, ideas and stories.

The full list of events can be found here:

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay, chosen by:

Rachel Dickenson

What do you do in the unit?

I work on the Midlands Engine, at the moment working on the new Midlands Engine Strategy.

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

My favourite jobs have all been one with an impact outside, so working in the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, on homelessness policy and in the Unit have all been favourites for that reason.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

This isn’t advice so much as an example. I’m a geographer and naturally interested in places, so working on place based agendas is great, and that was sparked by my two A-Level geography teachers. Both were passionate about the subject and that made it easy to engage with which means that in turn, my advice would be to do the things that interest you and that you enjoy.

A woman that inspires you and why

I pick two which may, or may not, be cheating. One is the writer Jackie Kay who became Makar, the Scottish poet laureate, last year. I pick her because the characters in her writing are well observed and because at readings she is warm and also funny. My second pick is Norma Waterson, one of the finest folk singers, picked for her staying power in the face of age and health problems and her proud Yorkshire roots. No one who hears her perform would doubt her leadership qualities.

Norma Waterson

Norma Waterson

Inside Government

Preventing and Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls

28 March 2017 09:00-16:20

Hallam Conference Centre, Central London

Worthwhile reads

International Women’s Day: the women leading local government – video:

This has been coordinated by the New Local Government Network and includes three videos featuring women, and some men, from various local authorities across the UK talking about:

  • Why diversity is important in policy making
  • How mentoring has helped women in local government
  • How to reduce inequality and sexism in the workplace

10 ways to “Man up!” on International Women’s Day

Be Ambitious … For Life, not just For Work


While Carly did not choose herself as her pick for inspiring woman, she did kindly provide a photo of herself! Carly’s pick was actually her grandmother:

Carly Freeston

What do you do in the unit?

Head up the Devolution Strategy Team

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

This one of course! But the job that has the best memories and most interesting stories has to be when I was Oliver Letwin’s private secretary. I headed up his office for the first 18 months of the Coalition Government. This included facilitating the Programme for Government negotiations; implementing new systems within Government to improve the way we take decisions; and driving structural reforms across the public sector to deliver manifesto commitments.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

Don’t run in the office. Running creates a sense of panic. You don’t need to run – it won’t get you there much quicker.

A woman that inspires you and why

Since having a baby, any mother who also works (in any job) inspires me. I think the woman that has the biggest impact on me so far has been my Granny. She struggled through a lot and came out smiling. I always hope I make her proud with what I achieve.

3. BEIS and DCLG


Spotlight: Perspectives on Industrial Strategy – Professor Jonathan Haskel

17 March, 2017 2:00 pm

A seminar with Professor Jonathan Haskel on intangible investment and the productivity puzzle.

BEES AT BEIS! Getting to be the Bees knees!

21 March, 2017 12:30 pm

Did you know that to help support biodiversity in the local area and boost the dwindling bee population, BIS in 2012 set up with a hive on the 5th floor balcony of 1 Victoria Street? The Department has several beekeepers that look after the bees and have produced honey for a few years now (the bees, not the beekeepers!) If you want to know or do more, this presentation will cover beekeeping, bees, the hive, equipment (with props), and how you can help the bees. To book a place, please register via:

Spotlight: Perspectives on Industrial Strategy – Professor Nick Crafts

31 March, 2017 2:00 pm

A seminar with Professor Nick Crafts on the history of industrial strategy

EU Exit and Devolution

16 March, 2017, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

The Exchange, Lower Ground Floor, 1 Victoria Street

Emma Ward and Susannah Simon (Directors with EU Exit responsibilities within BEIS) will be joined by Sarah MacLean from the UK Governance Group in the Cabinet Office and Chris Walker from DExEU devolution team to discuss what the challenges are for Government in ensuring that the perspectives and interests of the devolved nations are effectively addressed as we leave the EU.

This session is relevant for anyone with an interest in EU Exit.

To help with numbers please book by sending an email to if you can, but you can also just join on the day.


Birmingham: APM Fundamentals Certificate – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 30 March – 9:00 am – Fri 31 March – 5:00 pm

This is a 2 day course and exam which is the first step towards a professional project management qualification. Those who attend this course will develop a broad understanding of project management delivery tools, techniques, terminology and principles. Attendees should generally be individuals who are actively working on projects with no previous project management qualifications or people interested in exploring a project management career.

Day 2: Birmingham: APM Fundamentals Certificate – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 30 March – 9:00 am – Fri 31 March – 5:00 pm

If you would like to attend one of these events in the future, please contact the Delivery Unit

Introduction to Local Government Policies – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 9 March – 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

This course gives you an introduction to local government finance and policies. It covers how the local government finance system works and is evolving, the framework for local government and its accountability, devolution deals, and introductions to policy areas such as Integration and Faith, Community Rights, Local Government Efficiency, and Resilience and Emergencies

Core Curriculum: Consultation and Engagement

Fri 10 March – 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

There is a statutory requirement to consult on policy proposals but this is the minimum requirement. Policy makers are encouraged to adopt the Open Policy Making principles which set a much higher ambition to be open and transparent in the way we make and deliver policy.

DCLG has a reputation as being relatively good at collaborative policy making – both across government and externally. The course will reinforce this approach and draw on the good work that we do.

‘Devolution and You’ stall

Monday 13 March 2017 – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Do you have questions about devolution in the UK? Would you like to know the differences between the devolved settlements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? Visit the ‘Devolution and You’ stall on Monday 13 March. DCLG colleagues have teamed up with the Home Office and Civil Service Learning to answer your questions and offer advice.

Devolution: Legal Awareness Session – A Core Curriculum Event

Wednesday 15 March 2017 – 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm

The Core Curriculum is the learning and development offer for all colleagues and forms part of the DCLG People Plan. This session will explain existing local government structures, including combined authorities

Policy teach-in: Devolution in the UK

Wednesday March 15, 2-3pm

Policy teach-in: City Deals and working in the devolved context

Thu 16 March – 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

City Deals are a key lever for UK Government to empower city-regions to drive economic growth through new powers and funding. Although they started in England, since the Glasgow City Deal was announced in 2014 they have extended to cities across Scotland and Wales, creating new opportunities and complexities for the devolution settlement.

In this session, led by William Lord from the Cities and Local Growth Unit, we will explore the critical relationships needed to successfully deliver a Devolved Administration City Deal, insights from previous negotiations, and the future of City Deals in Scotland and Wales.

Talk: Four nations devolution in the UK – A Core Curriculum Event

Fri 17 March – 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

Join Paul Rowsell CBE and friends from the territorial offices for a talk on the latest developments in devolution in England and across the UK.

Michelle Obama at Mulberry School for Girls.png

Michelle Obama – chosen by Rachel Fisher, with the photo chosen by me because this is from her visit to my former sixth form and the young woman on the left is my friend’s little sister!

Rachel Fisher

What do you do in the unit?

I lead the Infrastructure team, so basically that’s looking at all the built environment aspects of growth from housing, to transport to digital.

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

This is my first job in Government and so far I’m enjoying it immensely. My favourite other role is helping to set up Urbanistas – which I do in my ‘spare’ time. This is a women-led network of people wanting to change the way we think about urbanism. It’s grown from 15 women in 2012 to over 1000 today with chapters all over the UK, one in Sydney and one in New York. I love it because it gives me a chance to meet incredible and passionate people who want to make cities better for everyone.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

The best advice I’ve received is to basically be nice to people. Note that this doesn’t always mean telling people what they want to hear…

A woman that inspires you and why

I’m American and at the moment I’ve got to say I’m still pretty inspired by Michelle Obama… The way she inhabited the role of First Lady was really impressive and I’m really excited to see what she does next.

Mental Health First Aid – Part 1 of 2 – A Core Curriculum Event

Wed 22 March – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Mental Health First Aid – Part 2 of 2 – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 23 March – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

This is an internally recognised two day course in Mental Health First Aid. All DCLG Mental Health Ambassadors have completed this course.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Recognise the symptoms of mental ill health
  • Provide initial help
  • Guide the person to appropriate professional help
  • Be mindful of your own wellbeing

This is a two-day course to be held on the 22nd and 23rd March and you will need to book a place separately on each. Please click here to book a place

APM Fundamentals Certificate – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 23 March – 8:00 am – Fri 24 March – 5:00 pm

This is a 2 day course and exam which is the first step towards a professional project management qualification. Those who attend this course will develop a broad understanding of project management delivery tools, techniques, terminology and principles. Attendees should generally be individuals who are actively working on projects with no previous project management qualifications or people interested in exploring a project management career.

If you would like to attend one of these events in the future, please contact the Delivery Unit

Compliant Recruitment – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 23 March – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

This course will help managers recruit compliantly and effectively. It will talk through the stages of the recruitment process and answer questions such as ‘how many people should be on a sift/interview panel?’

Drafting for Ministers – A Core Curriculum Event

One of the greatest skills a Civil Servant can have is to ensure you get your message across – and enable your Minister to do the same. This course will focus on how the style and substance of how you draft can change depending on its context. You will see how a ‘line to take’ for Cabinet is different to that for a speech. The same message delivered in the Commons will vary considerably in the Lords.

This course is recommended for new and experienced drafters alike. Use the online service to book your place.

Social Surveys: the good, the bad and the entirely unrepresentative – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 30 March – 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Ever wondered what makes a ‘good’ social survey? Don’t know the difference between a panel survey, a longitudinal survey, or a cross-sectional survey?  In this seminar, the English Housing Survey team will give you the low down on all this and more.

Anyone can attend this event particularly those who use data and statistics. Please click here to book a place.

From Market Fixing to Market Making: Implications for Smart and Inclusive Growth – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 30 March – 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Anyone interested in or working on growth or anyone interested in how risks and rewards can be shared allowing growth to be inclusive is welcome to attend this event.

Mariana Mazzucato, Professor in the Economics of Innovation, University of Sussex will be discussing a dynamic economic policy framework which focuses on market shaping and market making rather than the traditional focus on market failure and market fixing. Including how to pick a direction and tilt the playing field in that direction and how to build learning organizations in the public sector which welcome trial and error. Please click here to book a place.

Performance Management

As you start preparing for your end of year review, don’t forget to make use of the related CSL learning and development resources. In particular, you may find the following helpful:

IT skills

Thursday 16 March – Selection tools training

Thursday 23 March – Compliant recruitment

 4. CLoG and beyond

WIG events

Why not take part in one of the WIG events happening this month? They are free for DCLG staff.

Tuesday 14 March – HR Network: Brexit: HR challenges and opportunities

Tuesday 14 March – Breakfast briefing by Sue Owen, Permanent Secretary for Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Wednesday 15 March – Breakfast briefing by Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, Health at Work

Tuesday 21 March – Breakfast briefing by Joanna Whittington, Chief Executive, Office of Rail and Road

Tuesday 28 March– View from the board: Sir John Parker, Chairman, Anglo American

Friday 31 March – Building trust through good governance and diversity

Grandma factory_Jacqui

Jacqui’s grandmother (fourth from left) and colleagues, chosen by:

Jacqui Ward

What do you do in the unit?

Deputy Director on the local growth side – this covers a number of different local growth policies and programmes, but current priorities are place-based industrial strategy, the future local growth funding landscape, and the review of the role of LEPs

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

[Sick bags at the ready] – this one. Nowhere else have I found such interesting work and such great people.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

I struggled with this one. So I asked my Mum what was the best advice she ever gave me. She said: “Always get your round in”. So there you go.

A woman that inspires you and why

It’s easy to reach for famous names, but in the end it’s the more personal stories that inspire me to keep trying to make a difference, however small. The picture shows my grandma (fourth from left) and her friends / colleagues, keeping ICI Teesside up and running during wartime. She, and thousands like her, so ably demonstrated that women belong in the workplace. I doubt she thought she was doing anything particularly heroic.   

Inside Government

Delivering and Investing in Future Infrastructure Projects

29 March 2017 08:45-16:40

Central Birmingham

The Future of Housing Supply 2017

30 March 2017 08:45-16:20

Congress Centre, Central London

Raising Education Standards and Attainment Across the Northern Powerhouse

30 March 2017 8:45-16:20

Central Manchester, Manchester

Raising Education Standards and Attainment Across the Midlands

30 March 2017 09:00-15:40

Central Birmingham

Reducing the Risk and Impact of Flooding

27 April 2017 8:45-16:20 Central London

Public Service Transformation Academy

Institute for Government

Is the civil service ready for Article 50?

13th March 2017

The triggering of Article 50 is imminent; the UK is about to start the formal process of withdrawal from the European Union.

All Change: how to persuade government to stop reinventing the same policies

14th March 2017

This event will launch a new Institute for Government report, All Change, examining policy churn in government.

How will new mayors work with Whitehall to improve their city-regions?

Institute for Government, 2 Carlton Gardens, London SW1Y 5AA

20th March

12:30-14:00, This event will be livestreamed.


  • Tom Walker, Director, Cities & Local Growth Unit, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Martin Reeves, Chief Executive, Coventry City Council
  • Dave Smith, Managing Director, Sheffield City Region team
  • John Wrathmell, Head of Strategy at New Economy Manchester

Civil Service College

Inclusive Leadership: Free Lunchtime Taster

9 March, 12-1.30pm

Join Civil Service College and EW Group on 9th March 2017 for a taster of the Inclusive Leadership Programme, complete with free lunch and networking. The session will take place at the headquarters of Civil Service College in St James’ Park, London.

MaMaddie Hinch

Maddie Hinch MBE, chosen by:

Michelle Kynaston

What do you do in the unit?

Deputy Area Lead for Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEPs, based in the West Midlands team

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

Assistant Private Secretary to a Minister of State in DfE. It was super varied, ridiculously fast-paced and incredibly fun and reactive; ranging from the cool – meeting the Chinese First Lady as part of the 2015 State Visit, to the chaotic – sprinting (literally!) through Birmingham with the Minister after a full day of school visits to get him to the studios in time for an interview on the 6 o’clock news! Plus it’s pretty great exposure to some very senior people in the department; I definitely recommend giving Private Office a shot if you have the opportunity.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

When at work; never run, always smile and say it with conviction. There can be a tornado whirling inside your head but if you break a run or lose that smile then other people will know that you’re panicking and it all goes to pot! (from a SpAd whom you could depend on to be calm in any situation – it’s exceptionally soothing to everyone around you.)

A woman that inspires you and why

This is always a tough question but I’m going to go for Maddie Hinch (MBE). As a hockey goalkeeper myself (albeit a far more average one than her…), she is seriously inspirational to me.

She started playing goalkeeping after a PE teacher told her that the way she threw herself around a rounders pitch might be better suited to a hockey goal (I started because no-one else wanted to and we needed a keeper!). She worked her way up to England number 1, making her senior debut in 2008 against Germany, and since then has gone on to be the hero of the penalty shootout at the women’s hockey final at the Rio Olympics, helping GB to take Gold and receiving an MBE for her efforts. She said meeting Prince William to receive her MBE was “100 per cent” more nerve-wracking than the Olympic final! In February, she also received the 2016 Goalkeeper of the Year Award from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) – third time lucky!

MOOC – Future Learn

Current courses:

Smart Cities

Explore the role of technology and data in cities, and learn how you can participate in the creation of smart cities

Courses starting soon:

Business Fundamentals: Effective Networking: Learn how to build and sustain your network to enhance your professional relationships and open up career opportunities.

Systems Thinking and Complexity: Learn how to use systems and complexity thinking to address a variety of social, managerial and policy problems.

Management and Leadership – Leading a Team: Develop a business plan and build a team with one of two courses in the Management and Leadership program

Ethical Cities – Shaping the Future of Your City: Understand the problems cities face and learn how they can be resolved with ethical solutions

The Mind is Flat: the Shocking Shallowness of Human Psychology: Make better personal and professional decisions, considering the psychological dimension to choices, with this free online course (date TBA)

5. News and Reviews

Lusine Manukyan, in the LEP team, has written an excellent blog entry about her secondment experience for the DCLG intranet. You can read this here:

Kate Tempest

 Kate Tempest, chosen by:

Katie Jenkins

What do you do in the unit?

I am the Area Lead for Gloucestershire, overseeing and supporting the work of local partners to drive growth across the county.

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

This one! Seriously. I love having my own patch to cultivate and the level of autonomy that gives me, whilst at the same time being part of a fantastic local team within a high profile and exciting part of Government. The sheer amount of different policy areas and initiatives that we are involved in can be mind boggling at times but it means there’s never a dull moment!

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

You’ve got to enjoy the process. I used to be very keen on getting things done and finished. But if being a civil servant has taught me anything it’s that the job is never really done – things evolve, change, come back around again… I’ve had to learn to appreciate the ongoing!

A woman that inspires you and why

The poet/rapper/musician/writer Kate Tempest. She’s a phenomenal talent – passionate, insightful, eloquent – look her up if you haven’t come across her before. I’ve seen her live a few times, and at WOMAD festival this year she was at pains to pass on a message to young people about hard work and dedication in today’s instant-gratification society: there’s no rush, take your time, hone your craft. Wise words.

Katie also provided a lovely photo of her with her son:

Katie Jenkins and her son

An update from GRAD

It’s now just 2 months until 6 new Mayors are elected and start working with the combined authorities to undertake all of the new activities and promote economic growth across the country.

We have come a long way since the first devolution deal was agreed between Greater Manchester and the Government in November 2014. And so has the country’s legislative framework.

Since introducing the Devolution Bill just over three weeks after the 2015 General Election and leading its speedy passage through Parliament, the team has not stopped for breath. Working closely with our lawyers and the areas, we have developed over 20 pieces of secondary legislation (statutory instrument – SI) almost 400 pages in total, and supported the Home Office and Department of Health to deliver more.

The first piece of secondary legislation saved £2m – £3m of public money. We had a 2 month window to legislate to create the position of Greater Manchester Mayor – the first ever City Region Mayor outside London. And because the GM Mayor will also take on the Police and Crime Commissioner functions, we cancelled the May 2016 PCC election. We achieved this in the 2 day window between the powers coming into force and the PCC election being called – needing nifty foot-work, and close working with Manchester, Home Office and Treasury.  

That was not even one year ago.

On Greater Manchester alone there are 8 pieces of secondary legislation to implement the devolution deal – with more to come later. We have:

  • created a position of “interim mayor” in March 2015
  • created a position of elected Mayor with PCC functions in March 2016
  • devolved major new powers on housing, planning, transport and skills in December 2016


and we have developed legislation to:

  • transfer the Fire and Rescue functions to the Mayor and abolish the Fire and Rescue Authority
  • set out how the Mayor is to undertake the PCC role
  • confer more functions – mayoral development corporations, waste, and information sharing
  • confer public health functions on to the combined authority, and
  • enable the CA to borrow for activities other than transport


And that’s just for Manchester.

Watch this space in the next month or two as we complete the initial legislative phase to ensure the 7 new Mayors and combined authorities can start to undertake the functions devolved to them – and contribute to economic success across the City Regions and the country.


US flags used instead of  a photo of Catherine’s sister!

Catherine Newbitt-Jones

What do you do in the unit?

I head up the Strategic Comms team for the Cities and Local Growth Unit.

What has been your favourite job role (in or outside government) so far and why?

I really enjoyed fixing hearing aids in the Heath Hospital in Cardiff for lovely old ladies and gents. I was just the receptionist for the hearing department but the old chaps often turned up without appointments, so rather than turn them away I would try to fix them myself.  I reckon I had a 50% success rate.

What is the best advice you have ever received and what advice would you like to pass on to others?

There are swear words in it … sorry. Do come find me if you want to know what it is.

A woman that inspires you and why

My sister who left everything she knows and loved to live and work in the USA. By herself.

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