June’s L & D Blog

Welcome to June’s edition of the Learning and Development blog.

This introduction is a little on the sombre side; you are welcome to skip it if it might be upsetting. So:

I sometimes utterly despair at the human capacity for inflicting injustice. I am also sometimes in absolute awe of the human capacity for compassion. These two perspectives have hung heavily with me for the past two weeks, with (seemingly) ceaseless tragedies gripping communities across the UK. Some of these hit close to home.

However, I found myself concluding that in times like these, it is the latter belief in the human capacity for compassion that forges and bolsters the resilience needed to overcome tragedies, to look after those that have survived and, indeed, to begin instigating the long-term changes needed to ensure that these things stop happening.

It has been genuinely uplifting to see people come together in support of their communities. Whether organised and efficient or spontaneous but well-meaning in their response, plenty of people have displayed a remarkable capacity for compassion.

As such, this month’s post will generally feature some of the wonderful displays of community that have occurred over the past few weeks.

You’ll notice that much of these have come about through people’s willingness to volunteer, and actively participate in the communities in which they live. If you feel like doing the same in some way, please do consider using your civil servant volunteer days.

I am very proud of, and grateful for, the volunteering that colleagues have already undertaken in relation to recent events. And if you’d like to speak to someone in confidence about any of the above, please do ask your manager about the help available in BEIS and DCLG.

Support and solidarity are very much the order of the day.

In this edition…

  1. CLoG Activities

  2. Regional opportunities

  3. BEIS and DCLG

  4. Beyond CLoG

  5. MOOCs, podcasts and videos

  6. News and Reviews

Next CLoG Learning and Development Day – July 13th

By 2030, we should see the biggest change to the Civil Service since the Northcote-Trevelyan report which revolutionised the civil service in the middle of the 19th Century. It’s a big claim, but Trevalyan’s report was the culmination of efforts to reform government to reflect the changing world of the industrial age, and we are at a similar cross road. Even though we may not realise it, we are at the end of the digital beginning and the whole world is reshaping and retooling itself for life in the new normal. By 2030, we won’t be talking about digital this or digital that, it will just be the accepted mode of delivery, the question for us is, are we ready?

Our next L&D Day, on Thursday 13th July, will focus on the new normal. We have arranged a series of interactive sessions to open our minds up to the possibilities available to us to enhance ourselves as great policy makers. This will include developing our understanding of the current Government position through a session on the digital strategy. We want to build on this throughout the day, and challenge ourselves on how digital can enhance our work. This will take place through workshops on digital devolution from Tech UK, digital high streets, collaboration software, social media and infographics.

Unfortunately, there won’t be a hologram of Tom Walker, but there will be a robot and a digital treasure hunt to get your extra dose of excitement for the day – we look forward to seeing you there!

2- Grenfell volunteers

Grenfell volunteers setting up at the Westway Sports centre. Photograph: Dinendra Haria/Rex/Shutterstock

2. Regional opportunities


Transport in the North of England: infrastructure, economic growth and devolution

Morning, Tuesday, 18th July 2017, Central Manchester

The future for the Midlands Engine

Morning, Tuesday, 12th September 2017, Central Birmingham

Leadership and management

Leeds: Performance Coaching Workshop  

Fri 7 July – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Nottingham: Performance Coaching Workshop

Wed 12 July – 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Leeds: Time Management Zoo – A Core Curriculum Session

Tue 18 July – 11:45 am – 12:45 pm

Two in five of DCLG staff told the People Survey that they don’t have an acceptable workload, and almost a third said they don’t have a good balance between their work and private lives – the scores on these questions were statistically significantly worse than those of high performing units across the civil service. So if we’re all very busy, what can we do about it?

CI UK LEAP Academy 2017

Birmingham, United Kingdom Friday, 7 July 2017 at 17:30 – Sunday, 9 July 2017 at 16:00

Now in its sixth year, the programme will give the opportunity for aspiring leaders to become better leaders, through the high quality training delivered, and the chance to reflect on how personality styles impact on so much of what we do, and how we interact with others.

Unconscious Bias by Northern Powerhouse Briefings


Wed 12 July 2017, 09:30 – 12:15, York

Understand and learn how bias can affect your decision regarding, recruitment, promotions, support your team.

Women’s mentoring scheme

Bristol: Crossing Thresholds, Grade 6 & 7 

Thu 6 July – 9:15 am – Fri 7 July – 5:00 pm

Crossing Thresholds is a 12 month career mentoring programme for women who want to develop their career in a structured and supportive environment.

Glasgow: Crossing Thresholds, HEO/SEO (EO)

Mon 10 July – 9:15 am – Tue 11 July – 5:00 pm

Birmingham: Crossing Thresholds, Grade 6 & 7

Tue 25 July – 9:15 am – Wed 26 July – 5:00 pm

Career development

Leeds: Career Advice Session  

Tue 18 July – 10:30 am – 11:30 am

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.

3 - Grenfell volunteers setting up iftar

Volunteers setting up a street iftar (the meal at which Muslims fasting during the holy month break their fast) near the Grenfell site

3. BEIS and DCLG


Policy and policy development

Policy Masterclass: Science Advice in an Emergency

5 July, 2017 2:30 pm

Learn with colleagues across government on the role of science advice in a national or international emergency.

Feminism in policy making

4 July, 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm

Hosted by the cross-Whitehall exploring economics network, this event will explore the different ways in which gender is constructed in economic thinking and how feminist approaches to economics may be harnessed to inform better policy decisions.

BEIS Academy Seminar: Introduction to Home and Local Energy Efficiency Policies

13 July, 2017 2:00 pm

This seminar sets out what BEIS is doing to drive energy efficiency across buildings in the residential and public sector. This seminar is for government officials who have either no, or only some, knowledge of the policy area.


Bespoke PQ Training from BEIS Parly team:

Parly Unit recently did a series of talks & workshops on a range of parliamentary work, including PQs training. For those who couldn’t make it to the PQs session, I would like to offer policy teams the opportunity to have the PQs session to be repeated for their team. Alternatively, if there was something more bespoke you were looking for or you just wanted someone just to come along to your next team meeting to talk about Parliamentary Questions, then we’d like to hear from you.

As the next couple of weeks are going to be relatively quiet as goes parliamentary work, we thought this would be an excellent opportunity for teams to look at PQs, answer drafting tips, the life cycle of a question, and get theoretically and practically engaged with the PQ process.

If your team is interested in doing something like this over the next couple of weeks, do let us know and hopefully we can arrange a suitable date, time and venue.

Please email BEIS Parly Unit for more information, or to take up the offer.

How Parliament Works – and what this means for you

21 July, 2017 9:30 am

Are you new to the department, or new to parliamentary work? Either way, this event is designed for you.

The Legislative Process – how does this work and let’s look at lessons learned

21 July, 2017 11:00 am

Are you new to working on a bill? Then this is the session for you.

Secondary Legislation 1

21 July, 2017 2:00 pm

How S.I.s are co-ordinated and how to effectively instruct Legal to draft your S.I.s

Secondary Legislation 2

24 July, 2017 9:30 am

Do you know your Negatives from your Affirmatives? Come along to this session to find out what we need and what’s involved.

Parliamentary Questions and how you can improve your performance

24 July, 2017 11:00 am

If the thought of staring at a blank PQ template fills you with horror, worry no more. This session provides all the essentials you need to draft effective PQ answers, and will give you an insight as to the importance of PQs to the Department and the wider political process.

Select Committees – roles and responsibilities in the inquiry process

24 July, 2017 2:00 pm

Finding Committees a cause for confusion? This interactive session will familiarise attendees with Select Committee procedure and give a detailed overview of the inquiry process from beginning to end.

4 - FP flowers

Hundreds of Londoners gathered for the Finsbury Park vigil, carrying flowers

Leadership talks

Leadership Talk: Putting the Customer First with Liv Garfield – Chief Executive of Severn Trent

5 July, 2017 1:00 pm

Part of the Leadership Talks

Leadership Talk: Keeping the Lights on – Energy Industry Leadership Perspective with John Pettigrew CEO of National Grid plc

11 October, 2017 1:00 pm

Part of the Leadership Talks

Leadership Talk: The new Style of Leadership in the modern UK Civil Service with Clare Moriarty – Permanent Secretary of Defra

2 November, 2017 12:30 pm

Part of the Leadership Talks

5 - refugee week at South bank centre

Southbank Centre and Counterpoints Arts came together to celebrate Refugee Week –  the theme was ‘Our Shared Future’, looking at how both settled and newly arrived communities have come together for generations to contribute to the fabric of the UK.

Diversity and inclusion

Parental Support Network: Starting Secondary School

4 July, 2017 1:00 pm

Do you have a child making the transition from Junior to Secondary school in September? Would you like to talk to others in a similar position or who have successfully navigated this transition? If so, do join us for this event. Do also join us if you have recently navigated the transition yourself and can offer some helpful advice to other parents in BEIS.

Dyslexia & Dyspraxia Network Meeting

5 July, 2017 4:00 pm

An informal meeting of the new BEIS Dyslexia and/or Dyspraxia Network. Open to everyone, this is an opportunity to help shape the Network’s ‘offer’ to both staff with dyslexia/dyspraxia and those who work with them.

Health Kiosk

1 August, 2017 10:30 am

Health Kiosk is returning! There is a limited opportunity for a complimentary health check from CS Healthcare: covering vital health signs such as body fat content, body mass index, blood pressure, heart rate and hydration. Advance booking is required.


Working with Ministers

Drafting for Ministers – A Core Curriculum Event

Mon 21 August – 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Leadership and management

Introduction to Negotiation: Hints and Tips

Tue 4 July – 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Time Management Zoo  

Tue 4 July – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Policy and policy development

Policy Essentials: An Introduction to Policy in DCLG (Part 2)

Thu 6 July – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Policy Essentials: An Introduction to Policy in DCLG (Part 1)

Mon 7 August – 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Consultation and Engagement  

Tue 11 July – 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Housing Induction Day  

Mon 17 July – 9:30 am – 5:00 pm

The effectiveness of the planning system to support housing and building more new homes is at the heart of Government policy and attracts high public interest. We have designed two workshops – one covering planning and the other housing – which provide an overview of the policy area, and the current policy initiatives and challenges.

Introduction to Project Planning

Tue 25 July – 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm


Legal Awareness Session: Introduction to Bills

Tue 11 July – 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

IT and correspondence

Join a session to see the upgraded Despatch Box

Word for Beginners  

Wed 19 July – 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

DCLG Economic and Social Research Seminar

Inequalities in later life – reflections from the Centre for Ageing Better When: Tuesday 04 July 12:30-13:30 What is it about? Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better and Claire Turner, Interim Director of Evidence discuss the Centre for Ageing Better’s work on inequalities in later life. Who should attend? Anyone working on or interested in social care and those wanting to enjoy later life to the fullest or will one day be old.

10 - world refugee day art

“All I left behind. All I will discover” was held at London’s Oxo Tower as part of Refugee Week, featuring work from refugee teenagers, supported by the Red Cross. Image: One Country. “One World. One Planet. One Future.”  is a work that plays on the themes of board game snakes and ladders and shows the routes taken by refugees on their way to the UK. More than 80 teens aged 15 to 19 from countries including Syria, Eritrea and Sudan contributed to the project.

4. Beyond CLoG

WIG events

The Whitehall & Industry Group (WIG) is an independent charity and membership organisation. WIG champions learning and understanding between the sectors through a diverse calendar of events, leadership programmes for different career levels, and a talent function placing people across sectors in short-term roles.


Philippa Lloyd, Director General, Higher and Further Education, Department for Education



Michael Gibbons, Chairman, Regulatory Policy Committee


Brexit and the UK food and drink sector


Sir John Kingman, Chair, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – Commercialising Research and Innovation


Heads of Brexit Roundtable

THURSDAY 13 JULY 2017, 12:30 – 14:00 ROUND TABLE

WIG Open Data Forum

TUESDAY 18 JULY 2017, 09:00 – 12:30 LONDON WORKSHOP

Public/Private sector leaders

D&I Network Roundtable: Paul George, Executive Director of Corporate Governance & Reporting, Financial Reporting Council

THURSDAY 06 JULY 2017, 08:15 – 09:30 LONDON, ROUND TABLE

Rob Shaw, Chief Executive, NHS Digital


Stephen King, Senior Economic Adviser, HSBC

THURSDAY 15 JUNE 2017, 08:00 – 10:00 LONDON

Duncan Taylor CBE, British Ambassador to Mexico


Westminster policy forum

Westminster Forum Projects (WFP) has its origins in the UK national Parliament, but its work now extends to policy decided in UK devolved Parliaments and Assemblies, the Oireachtas, and the European Commission and Parliament. WFP currently offers 16 influential, impartial and cross-party forums.

Diversity and inclusion

Improving equality at work for BME employees

Wednesday, 11th October 2017

Mental health in the workplace – improving support for employers and employees

Monday, 20th November 2017


Priorities for transport in London and the South East: infrastructure, funding, and the Mayor’s Transport Strategy

Morning, Thursday, 29th June 2017, Central London

Fake news – scope, public trust and options for policy

Morning, Thursday, 13th July 2017, Central London

Next steps for technical education in England – T-levels, implementing the Post-16 Skills Plan and financial sustainability

Morning, Monday, 3rd July 2017, Central London

Devolution and economic growth in London – assessing the impact of London’s devolution agreement on infrastructure, competitiveness and skills

Morning, Tuesday, 11th July 2017, Central London

Improving Apprenticeships in England – quality, assessment and options for policy

Morning, Tuesday, 5th September 2017, Central London

Next steps for housing in London and the South East

Wednesday, 13th September 2017, Central London

Developing the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Corridor: infrastructure, governance and economic growth

Thursday, 7th December 2017, Central London

6 - JC heart

The Greater Get Together 2017 took place between 16-18 June. Image shows pupils in Birmingham paying tribute to Jo Cox.

Showcase events

Globalisation in Crisis? The Urban and Regional Challenges of the Great Instability Conference

Cambridge Political Economy Society

Thursday, July 13, 2017 – Friday, July 14, 2017, 09:00 – 17:30

Good Growth by Design – A Vision for London (Speaker- Sadiq Khan): Hosted by IPA, LSE cities and LSE London, Mon 10 July  6.30-8pm

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, will be speaking on 10 July at LSE on the issue of ‘good growth’ and how he intends to work with developers, planners and LAs to achieve it in London. Should be relevant those interested in the direction of travel for development projects in London and the wider civic renewal agenda.

It’s a free but ticketed affair- you will need to apply directly at the link below:



Inside Government

Effectively Regulating Private Housing and Tackling Rogue Landlords

13 July 2017, 08:45-16:00

Cavendish Conference Centre, London

The Future of Technical and Vocational Education

11 July 2017, 08:45-16:20

Hallam Conference Centre, London

Delivering and Investing in Future Infrastructure Projects

Tuesday 31st October 2017, Central London

7 - Dorking church

The event, in memory of Jo Cox, was marked with street parties, picnics and gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues. Image shows a church in Dorking decorated with bunting.

Diversity and inclusion

The below lists reports and opportunities related to diversity and inclusion:

  • Diversity Benchmark brings clarity to disparities.  Thomas Colquhoun-Alberts, Business in the Community Diversity Benchmark and Knowledge Manager examines the disparities between the employment rate of BAME and White people and encourages participation in the Business in the Community Diversity Benchmark as a key consideration in developing a strategic approach to tackling these inequalities.
  • The time for talking is over – read the report.
  • New View is an exciting new publication launched by Inclusive Boards with the aim of supporting BAME professionals in their career journey, and promoting more BAME representation in a range of sectors UK-wide.
  • Disability Inclusion – Building a diverse and inclusive workforce requires a work culture where all employees feel fully engaged and able to fulfil their potential. Leadership and human resources practices both play critical roles in shaping an organization’s work culture, and are therefore key to making employers more inclusive of employees of all diversities and abilities.
  • Reducing gender gaps would significantly benefit women, society and the economy
  • Take part in the following consultation: the Mayor’s vision for a Diverse and Inclusive city

Start date: 15 June 2017 End date: 11 September 2017

You can click here for a full list of upcoming DCLG BAME network events:  BAMEnet events handout

5. MOOCs, podcasts and videos

BEIS Leadership talks

Leadership Matters: 3×15

Centre for Cities

City Talks: Voice of the city – lessons for the English metro mayors

City Talks: How can we achieve inclusive growth?

City Talks: what does a modern industrial strategy actually look like?

More City Talks podcasts can be found here.


Learning from Complaints: the benefits to organisations of listening to uncomfortable truths


Britain’s Housing Crisis: causes and cures

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

Future Learn

Planetary Urbanisation: Global Challenges in a Changing World

Business Fundamentals: Project Management

8 - traders in borough market

Traders in borough market support one another following the market’s reopening in the wake of terror attacks (Picture: PlanZheroes)

6. News and reviews

GRaD – a General Election wisely spent?

A fuller version of this review featuring graphs, can be read here: A recess wisely spent_GRaD.

At the end of April, the Intranet urged us all to take the opportunity of the general election period to get up to date with the housekeeping, make the most of the L&D opportunities on offer and snatch some well-earned R&R. So, how did we do? And what else did we get up to? … we ran our own survey to find out.

Unsurprisingly, election planning came top of our list – we all got involved in iterating slide packs and other products for incoming ministers, and drafting advice on matters requiring urgent attention, like the South Tees Development Corporation. We also all managed to take some annual leave, largely thanks to Her Majesty (Happy Birthday!). We got a fair bit of housekeeping done in preparation for the PIMS switch-off and the new telephony system, but we were less keen on tidying our lockers and writing objectives, and we failed miserably to nominate anyone for a CS diversity and inclusion award.

So how did we do on L&D?

Pretty well, actually. It proved a more popular general election period occupation than both filing and submitting expenses claims! And between us we did a huge range of things to grow our skills, knowledge and experience – from the core curriculum and beyond.

  • we learned skills for negotiation, despatch box, consultation and involving the public in policy making
  • we know more about Ramadan, HS2, opinion polling and policy change
  • we have heard from leaders on their careers, personal resilience and the general election and met the new Mayor of the West Midlands
  • we have visited Parliament, Birmingham, Nottingham and Strasbourg, and a couple of us went all the way to the 4th floor of 2MS to cover roles in Simon’s office and the Secretary of State’s office.

We have also helped with L&D for colleagues, facilitating the Party Manifestos workshop and LGBT Ally induction session, and we gave a presentation on the history of local government reorganisation in England since 1974 at a conference in Eupen, Belgium.

We have also been turning our lessons learned work into some practical products to share – a policy board game and a top 10 tips piece on making secondary legislation are both in development.

It seems safe to conclude that here is GRaD we are more informed, more rested and better prepared to serve the new Government … in short, a general election period well spent!

Governance Reform and Democracy Unit

9 - reopening

Reopening of borough market

Visit to MIRA EZ – 5 JUNE 2017

John Millar is the Area Lead for Sheffield City Region

12 of us recently visited to Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) near Nuneaton which is now owned by Horiba – a Japanese measurement instrumentation company. This is a very impressive site with ambitious plans for future expansion. The key issues/learning points we took away from the visit were:

  • The current finite life of business rate relief poses a problem for this EZ given the delayed start to development generally experienced by EZs at the end of the noughties;
  • Backlog issues with Valuation Office could potentially prevent new buildings being allocated a rateable value – thus possibly causing a lag in generating business rates;
  • Importance of encouraging collaboration within companies on the EZ – security and infrastructure remain very important issues for tenants;
  • Important to have a good relationship with LEP – MIRA has an interesting model of using recycled business rate uplifts supporting local development. LGF also being used to support a new skills centre being developed by the local college and the LEP is also supporting MIRA’s marketing efforts;
  • Relationship with Local Authority also very important – interesting example of improving the main road using RGF with both direct and indirect jobs targets and the LA as accountable body – also getting overall planning policy for the site agreed very important as this enabled planning decisions on individual buildings to be made quickly under delegated authority arrangements.

One of the great start-up companies we visited on the EZ was Baro:


A day in the life of Tom Walker

Palbinder Sandhu is currently on secondment to CLoG from Bradford Council, and works in the Future Growth Funding team.  

Last week I shadowed Tom for a day and gained insight into the working day of our Director. We attended lots of meetings ranging from transformational work stream discussions with officers to introductory meetings between policy leads and the new Minister, Jake Berry. It was interesting to see his initial engagement with the LEP, Industrial Strategy and Future Funding policy areas that were presented to him.

Tom was great at explaining what was coming up next and giving me some background and context as we dashed from one meeting to another.

In the afternoon’s Leadership team meeting there was plenty of strategic discussion on ‘place conversations’, the potential opportunities to engage with Ministers and the People Plan.

Unfortunately, I had a deadline to meet so I couldn’t attend a pre-brief that followed for a mayoral phone call, but nevertheless it was an interesting day that gave me exposure to high level leadership discussions. The highlight was being able to plug for a Northern Powerhouse railway station in my hometown of Bradford when I met Jake Berry – #NextStopBradford.

I would highly recommend shadowing as part of your Learning and Development …you’ll also get to see Tom’s multi-tasking skills in action: walking, talking and responding to emails on the go. Do make sure to bring a packed lunch though, as I discovered there’s no time at the top to stop! Thanks for the opportunity, Tom.

1- EW replace

…skipping across the pond for a moment to acknowledge Pride month in the US:

As part of their 30 Days of Pride initiative, Billboard kicked off the month with a project titled “Love Letters to the LGBTQ Community” — where notable pop culture luminaries submit open letters to the LGBTQ community. Due to an outpouring of interest, they decided to continue this project by adding more letters to the collection – including one from Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Warren’s letter says, ‘Pride shows our country at its best: diverse, inclusive, united, and strong.’ I think the sentiment can be applied universally.

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