March Edition

Welcome to the March edition of the CLoG Learning and Development blog – the first blog post after Maariyah’s departure.

In her January post, Maariyah suggested that we all reclaim our lunch breaks, so I did! This is a photo of St John’s Smith square, where I enjoyed a little walk and a big sandwich.


St John’s Smith Square


For next month, I suggest we all learn something new outside of work – a new recipe, yoga pose, knitting pattern or extreme sport (anyone else fancy taking up ice hockey after watching the Olympics?). My plan is enabled by an upcoming holiday to Rome, where I have signed up to a cooking class. This learning and development opportunity is of course not available on Civil Service Learning, but I will try and bring some tiramisu back for everyone!

Of course, we don’t all need to go on holiday to learn something new – there are lots of events and courses listed below, and I hope you find something that fits in with your schedule.

This month, the blog is very lucky to have received reviews of several courses and events. Thank you to those who provided them. All of the photos were taken by me over the last few weeks (thank you to the regional teams for having me!)



Rebecca Bryning reflects on the Crossing Thresholds mentoring programme

Crossing Thresholds is a career mentoring programme for women who want to develop their career in a structured and supportive environment. I’ve got to admit I was a bit sceptical about the “women only” aspect but the write up looked really appealing to me, define your career goals.

From the 2 modules I have attended I would definitely recommend a career mentoring programme so far it has helped me to think about my career very differently.  Defining my vision, values, and goals and starting to create a career action plan.

Module 2 was entitled “getting the balance right” and helped me look at where my personal and professional focus is, where I think it should and how I’m going to move it.

I would highly recommend Crossing Thresholds but equally any career mentoring programme that provides guidance and support on how to set out on your career path and working out what is important to you not what isn’t. 


Ruairi Gillespie reflects on GRaD’s recent Fair Treatment Workshop

 “In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fair-mindedness, and gentleness with what is strange”

Whilst Nietzsche’s use of ‘strange’ certainly teeters on the edge of modern political-correctness, his sentiment remains true, championing the permeating positive effect that an open culture can stimulate in an organisation.

Following on from the publication of the staff survey results and the subsequent review, we in GRaD decided to facilitate an open forum so team members could discuss both the positive aspects of the team and any health and wellbeing issues currently faced; The morning of our away day proved to be a perfect opportunity with the more informal setting inducing a relaxed and open atmosphere to consider these challenges.

From a personal perspective, having recently joined the Civil Service fresh from university, and with my only previous work experience being in a newly formed start-up, the prospect of considering health and wellbeing in tandem with Departmental Goals and a formal code of practice was an interesting one; I was intrigued to see how rigidly the discussion would refer to these goals or if it remained people centred, focusing on the feelings of the individual and the needs of the GRaD.

We got in touch with Julia Hiller and Megan McKibbin, two of the Department’s Fair Treatment Ambassadors, who agreed to take a session focusing initially on promoting an understanding of the importance of fair treatment and raising awareness of the definitions of and law surrounding bullying and harassment. This provided an excellent foundation on which to engage with the specific issues faced in the team.

Using this platform, the discussion soon turned to what a fair working environment looks like, encouraging us to consider the difference between this model and our team working methods and habits, and to use this to make team pledges. It was this section of the workshop that best demonstrated the benefits of the informal setting as the frankness of discussion allowed a number of key trends to emerge: for example one trend was to appreciate the varied working hours within the team and the pledge was to give due consideration to this when considering the pattern of regular meetings.

For me, the overarching principle of the workshop, and indeed Fair Treatment in the wider context, is to establish an open culture, as from this point positive change will flow. I recently read Grayson Perry’s The Descent of Man (highly recommended), in which he engages with current definitions of masculinity and the ill-effect they sow. He draws out a similar observation in his campaign for a healthier and more beneficial take on masculinity, defining open discussion and consideration for the individual as the necessary foundation for more equal societal gender dynamics.

All in all, the workshop was excellent and I would encourage every team to partake if they haven’t already done so (even if it is just to consider how well you’re doing in nurturing a fair working environment!). For GRaD, I will be leading a unit meeting soon to reflect on the workshop and my review of staff survey results in order that we action change to the effect of the pledges.

With many thanks to Julia and Megan for all their help, and to Mark Ewbank for organising an excellent away day.


Will Spearing reflects on the EO Active Learning Set

Having only joined in November, I recently went to my 2nd of a series of “seminars” for the EO-grades in CLoG. The great series has been led by fellow EOs; Emily Cowling and Katie Turrell.

The first session was just before the Christmas break and centred on everyone’s first impressions of joining CLoG, and their respective teams. It was really useful to share experiences and to understand that there were others experiencing the same challenges and feelings as you!

With the end of the appraisal year approaching and many people at milestone points in the probation, the recent second session centred around setting personal objectives, development plans, and how to approach probation interviews. It was great to hear those in the room who had been in CLoG longer and had already had prior experience. A previously drafted set of core EO objectives, which can be supplemented with more specific ones, was circulated. 

These sessions have been really beneficial as they have highlighted the shared social experience at the EO level. As a result, those that have participated should be more prepared when approaching their probation/appraisals and also improve the experiences of other new EOs when they join.


Helen Mitchell also recently reviewed a learning and development opportunity available to read on the BEIS intranet.


Bristol Temple Meads Station

Upcoming MHCLG Events

An introduction to Brexit – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 1 March – 11:00 am12:00 pm, 2MS

Local Authorities Commercialisation: Hedge Fund-style Activity – a Core Curriculum event

Thu 1 March – 12:30 pm1:30 pm, 2MS

Honours Workshop – a Core Curriculum event

Mon 5 March – 10:00 am12:30 pm, 2MS
 Mental Health First Aid Workshop – A Core Curriculum Event
Wed 7 March – 8:30 amThu 8 March – 4:00 pm, 2MS

What does it mean to be a ‘straight ally’?

Wed 7 March – 12:00 pm1:00 pm, 2MS


Policy Essentials 1 – An introduction to those new to policy in MHCLG Part 1 – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 8 March – 10:00 am4:00 pm, 2MS


Honours Workshop – a Core Curriculum event

Thu 8 March – 1:30 pm4:00 pm, 2MS

Data & Analysis – a Core Curriculum event

Fri 9 March – 9:30 am3:30 pm, 2MS


Policy Essentials Part 2 – A Core Curriculum Event

Mon 12 March – 10:00 am12:00 pm, 2MS


SCS Masterclass: Generation rent & the implications for public policy

Tue 13 March – 2:00 pm4:00 pm, 2MS

Performance Coaching Workshop – A Core Curriculum Event

Wed 14 March – 11:30 am2:00 pm, 2MS

Is Britain More Divided? No, but it is divided differently

Wed 14 March – 12:30 pm1:30 pm, 2MS

Guest seminar from Anthony Heath, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College

A Brilliant Civil Service in Action Roadshow: London

Thu 15 March – 9:30 am12:30 pm

Methodist Central Hall, Storey’s Gate, Westminster
London, SW1H 9NH


Advising, Briefing and Drafting – a Core Curriculum event

Fri 16 March – 9:30 am5:00 pm, 2MS


Fair Treatment – A Core Curriculum Event

Mon 19 March – 9:00 am10:30 am, 2MS

Grant making – potential pitfalls and how to avoid them – A Core Curriculum Event

Tue 20 March – 10:30 am11:30 am, 2MS


Learning from the Iraq Inquiry – Policy Making in a Complex Environment – A Core Curriculum event

Tue 20 March – 2:00 pm3:00 pm, 2MS


Performance Coaching Workshop – A Core Curriculum Event

Tue 20 March – 2:00 pm4:30 pm, 2MS 

Britain’s housing crisis: causes and cures

Thu 22 March – 12:30 pm1:30 pm, 2MS
Guest seminar from Dr Christian Hilber, Professor of Economic Geography at London School of Economics

Understanding Talent – for all G6/7s and DDs – A Core Curriculum Event

Mon 26 March – 10:00 am11:00 am, 2MS

Building your Resilience – a Health and Wellbeing Workshop

Wed 28 March – 10:00 am12:00 pm, 2MS

Performance Coaching Workshop – A Core Curriculum Event

Wed 28 March – 12:00 pm2:30 pm, 2MS 

Disability Confidence – A Core Curriculum Event

Wed 28 March – 1:00 pm3:00 pm

An introduction to speech writing – A Core Curriculum Event

Thu 29 March – 11:00 am12:00 pm, 2MS
The walk up from Nottingham station


Upcoming BEIS events

BEIS Academy Seminar: Introduction to Energy Security
2 March, 2018 10:00 am 
Welcome to BEIS
8 March, 2018 9:30 am 
Coaching Skills for Managers
13 March, 2018 1:30 pm 
BEIS Academy Seminar: Introduction to Climate Change Science – Fact, Fiction and Future
14 March, 2018 2:00 pm 
BEIS Academy Seminar: The Future Of The Electricity System
16 March, 2018 2:00 pm 
BEIS Academy Seminar: An Introduction to the Clean Growth Strategy
16 March, 2018 10:00 am 
Setting Expectations and Empowering
16 March, 2018 10:00 am 
Welcome to BEIS
16 March, 2018 1:30 pm 
BEIS Academy Seminar: Response to Electricity and Gas Network Emergencies
19 March, 2018 10:00 am
Coaching Skills for Managers
21 March, 2018 9:30 am 
BEIS Academy Seminar: Unclear about Nuclear? – The Basics of Nuclear Power
23 March, 2018 10:00 am 
Welcome to BEIS
23 March, 2018 1:30 pm 
BEIS Academy Seminar: Business Energy and Industrial Strategy – An Introduction to Downstream Oil
26 March, 2018 10:00 am 
Welcome to BEIS
26 March, 2018 1:30 pm 
BEIS Academy Seminar: Introduction to Contract Management
27 March, 2018 10:00 am 
BEIS Academy Seminar: Introduction to Home and Local Energy Efficiency Policies
27 March, 2018 2:00 pm 
BEIS Academy Seminar: Introduction to behavioural insights in BEIS
29 March, 2018 2:00 pm
BEIS Academy Seminar: Introduction to Productivity and the Industrial Strategy White Paper
29 March, 2018 10:00 am
the shard
View from the Shard (taken at a Centre for Cities event)
Beyond CLoG
Civil Service Start:

CS START: Demystifying MHCLG, Fri 2 March; 12.00-13.30; 2MS

CS START: MOD Crisis Management Event, Tue 10 Apr; 14.00-17.00; DfT 33 Horseferry Rd, London

Civil Service College

Training courses on Prince 2, management, policy development and behavioural economics


Local Contributions to the Industrial Strategy

Thursday 08 March 2018, 16:45 – 19:30


Women’s Leadership: Courage & Presence

Tuesday 13 March 2018, 09:00 – 16:30

Development Seminar

Evening Briefing

Workings of Whitehall: Key players in the policy making process

Tuesday 27 March 2018, 09:00 – 16:00


Workings of Whitehall

More events here:

Centre for Cities
Trading tips on making money from nothing

1 March 2018 | 10.30am | Birmingham – contact for details

A roundtable to discuss how combined authorities can use their assets for growth


Out and About

The Impact of Brexit on London

27 February 18:30 – 20:00, European Institute, LSE


‘The Remarkable Story of Hunslet’ from Medieval Manor to Industrial Suburb

28 Feb, 13:15 – 13:45

Leeds in your Lunch Hour, Arts@Trinity, Holy Trinity Church


Launch of the Birmingham Urban Studies Research Cluster

1 March, 17:00 – 19:00

Birmingham City University Curzon Building


Your Questions are Our Questions: designing the Civic University

1 March, 18:00- 20:00

Brigstow Institute, University of Bristol


Policy and Politics lecture

7 March , 18:00 – 20:00

Policy and Politics Journal, University of Bristol


Economic and Social Rights: from international law to everyday life

9 March, 17:00 – 18:30

Newcastle University


Social Policy and Society: Annual Lecture

18 April 17:17 – 19:00

The Diamond, University of Sheffield


Lord Desai Public Lecture on Economic Growth: Geopolitical game or addressing global inequalities?

19 April, 18:00 – 19:30

University Place, The University of Manchester

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