April’s L&D Blog

Hello and welcome to April’s L&D blog with another new author! I’m Katie and planning to stick around for a while, so expect more from me in the coming months.

You may have noticed that there have been a few new authors of this blog recently and the last author, Emily, set us the task of trying something new. I think these two fit perfectly together, so following this, the theme of this month’s blog is change and trying something new.

Here’s what I’ll be covering:

  1. Change: is it good or bad?
  2. Trying something new
  3. The CLoG L&D day
  4. L&D opportunities
  5. A forward look

Change: is it good or bad?

St Pancras
All change

I think that change can always be a good thing as long as it’s properly managed (which now makes it sound incredibly dull). In the workplace, change will happen. Everyday. It can be the reason a person stays in their job or the thing that causes others no end of stress, and there are of course a hundred different varieties of change.

I will admit to be a person who is easily distracted and so I often thrive on change; somewhere new to visit, a new book, a new challenge at work, a new hair colour, the character on that TV show to die so they can be replaced with someone new, better looking and more interesting, new shoes… standard stuff.

And then there are the things in my life that I don’t want to change; the people in my life, my home, all the things I am happy and content with, that make me feel safe. Unfortunately, these tend to be the changes we have less control over.

In our jobs we deal with change by being prepared, or when we can’t see it coming, we react to change by taking stock, reassessing priorities, asking others for help, crisis management. We manage it, and often manage to make the best out of the situation.

Helping each other is so important. My team leader made it our ‘challenge of the week’ this week as he knew it was going to be tough one for us. He managed (I promise that will be the last time I say manage) the situation to help us deal with upcoming changes.

So, if you would like to learn more about how to manage (sorry) changes, here are some L&D opportunities to look at:

25 April – MHCLG – Building Resilience through Change (an immigrant’s tale) – A Leaders Teaching Leaders Event – This event will be hosted by Chandru Dissanayeke, Deputy Director, Building Safety Programme. Chandru reflects on how his leadership journey – from riots to partying with Jay Z – has strengthened his resilience and provides tips on how to build resilience at work during a time of change.

16 May – MHCLG – Risk Management in MHCLG – a Core Curriculum event

23 May – MHCLG – Building your Resilience – a Health and Wellbeing Workshop

30 May – MHCLG – Career Conversations Workshop – A Core Curriculum Event

Trying something new

The path less taken

This was the task that Emily set us last month and I can confirm that she did indeed attend a cooking class in Rome and made a wonderful tiramisu (with egg, which apparently is the traditional recipe!) She did not, however, bring any back for us to try.

My own adventures into trying something new last month saw me signing up to a dodgeball team with my colleague and friend Pooja. My only previous knowledge of the game came from the Ben Stiller film Dodgeball which turned out to be both entertaining and educational; you do actually have to dodge, dive, dip, duck and dodge. And throw a ball, which I am terrible at. Unfortunately I managed to hurt my back last week by trying to put on a sock too aggressively, so my dodgeball career is on hold for now. The new things I will be trying this month will be swimming, lots of yoga and staying very still.

If you would like to learn or try something new, I would recommend the following L&D opportunities:

19 April – BEIS – Feedback Matters: Interactive Theatre

24 April – BEIS – Setting Expectations and Empowering

23 May – MHCLG – Meet the housing and local government legal teams – Legal Awareness Month

30 May – MHCLG – Economics for non-economists: Housing Economics – A Core Curriculum Event

The CLoG L&D day: Our Unit, Your Place

The government at work

“Our Unit, Your Place” took place at the Francis Crick Institute at the end of March. It was one of the rare and wonderful times that the entire unit were not only in the same part of the country, but in the same room! We were also raising money for ‘Jeans for Genes’ day, so it was quite a sight to see all that double denim in one room (great charity, great cause; if you would like to donate, please do here: https://www.jeansforgenesday.org/).

We had a great day including a geography quiz (with embarrassing results for some) and some creative workshops where we were encouraged to use our imagination. This led to a suggestion that we should freeze the sea in Newquay to improve winter tourism… we are awaiting the official response from the South West.

During our time at the Crick, we were encouraged to think about the idea of place. We documented our time there with a photo sharing app which provided many thought provoking and entertaining moments and all the photos in this blog. Many people took pictures of their commute to the venue, the new architecture of the area, the people they work with. My favourite picture was one of a man dancing in a slightly grubby Pikachu outfit. Beauty occurs in all forms.

Members of the Crick and developers of the surrounding area spoke to us about how they are transforming this place into a new ‘Science quarter’ in London. My own reflections whilst exploring my surroundings is that this change is good. The area felt fresh and full of opportunity and has a Harry Potter themed gift shop. However after deciding that I didn’t really need a plush Ron Weasley doll, I also remembered that this is the first part of London people see as they arrive from Europe on the Eurostar. People visit London for its history and gimmicky tourist attractions (no, the Harry Potter shop is NOT one of these, it’s an institution), but what they see is a new and fresh London, one that intends to lead in research and development. The future of the capital.

L&D Opportunities

Here are some other upcoming L&D opportunities that caught my eye this month:

24 April – MHCLG – Economics for non-economists: Introduction to Economics – A Core Curriculum Event

24 April – BEIS – FAME – Family roots: Jewish and Asian (with Richard Harrington)

1 May – MHCLG – A Brilliant Civil Service in Action Roadshow: Sheffield

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

8 May – BEIS – Setting Expectations and Empowering

10 May – BEIS – BEIS Academy Seminar: Long-tail or Fat-dog: the role of analysis in answering the UK’s productivity problem at the heart of Industrial Strategy

18 May – MHCLG – European Programmes and Local Growth Delivery ERDF TourIt!- A Core Curriculum event – on 18 May 2018 there is an opportunity to take a trip to the Thames Valley Science Park in reading to take part in a guided walking tour by the local European MHCLG team.

22 May – MHCLG – Rise of the intangible economy – an ESR seminar

Forward Look

I have a milestone birthday coming up in May, so my theme for next month will be milestones.

I would also love to have some contributors to this blog, so if you have something you want to promote or a write up of an event you’ve attended, get in touch.

See you all next month


PS. Here’s the picture of Pikachu.


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: https://www.wig.co.uk/networking-events/events-listing.html

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

November 2016

Welcome to November’s L & D blog…


I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.

Beatrix Potter was born 150 years ago on 28 July 1866 in Kensington.  Although from a wealthy family, she overcame the significant obstacle presented by her gender to excel in mycology, natural history, entrepeneurship, conservation, historical and cultural heritage, and, of course, writing and illustrating for children. For this she became world famous, and is commonly acknowledged to be the bestselling children’s author of all time.

Beatrix Potter exemplifies many of the qualities and ways of working which CLoG seeks to champion across Whitehall.  She made the very best of her circumstances. She tried new things.  She refused to settle for the status quo.  She insisted on the highest quality in all her publications and products.  And much of her life’s work was with an eye on the legacy she would leave, carefully planned to leave her society changed for the better decades and centuries later.  What are we trying to achieve if not lasting change for the better?

The photographs and captions interspersed among the L & D material below give a flavour of the range and variety of her accomplishments, and will hopefully inspire many of us to revisit and reinvigorate our L & D plans.  As she herself once wrote, “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.”


Wray Castle, Windermere (photograph taken in 1882 by Beatrix’s father Rupert Potter).  Family summer holidays spent here, and prior to that in Dalguise (Perthshire, Scotland), inspired Potter’s love of the natural world and honed her powers of observation. She and her brother Walter were given great freedom to explore the countryside unaccompanied.

In This Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BEIS and DCLG Opportunities

3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews

1. CLoG Activities

Policy Teach Ins

Wednesday 9 November 1300-1400
Single Pot and Gain Share – Robin Froggatt-Smith, Paul Miller

Thursday 24 November 1300-1400
Business rates pilots – Paul Miller, Robin Froggatt-Smith

Wednesday 7 December 1300-1400
Debt and bonds – Robin Froggatt-Smith

Beatrix with her mother Helen.  Her childhood was privileged and sheltered, with her education provided by governesses and a key interest being her extensive collection of pets (including mice, a hedgehog, rabbits and bats) which she sketched and wrote about extensively.

2. BEIS and DCLG Opportunities


Have a question for the Transition Team?

Come along to drop-in sessions in the BEIS Transition Spaces where you can learn more about the transition programme, our new department, and provide your feedback.

• 12.30 to 1.30pm, every Monday in The Innovation Space, 1VS

• 12.30 to 1.30pm, every Wednesday in Room 508, 3WHP

Read more

Meet the Industrial Strategy team

Learn about Industrial Strategy and put your questions to the team. What does industrial strategy mean, what does it set out to achieve, what are the milestones in the coming months and how can you get involved?

Read more

‘To me, to EU’ – Joint working off to a great start

Teams across BEIS are starting to work together closely. Read about what has been going on in the Europe team to ensure they build on their respective strengths and ensure the new directorate is a great place to work.

Read more

High-level governance structure for BEIS confirmed

Read more

Beatrix Potter’s drawing of the Leiota Friesii (Freckled Dapperling), September 1895.  Her drawings of fungi are used in standard texts to this day, and her 1896 paper “On The Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae” was presented to the Linnean Society by renowned myconologist George Massee on Potter’s behalf because women were not allowed to present.  The Society issued an apology for its sexist attitudes in 1997.
Meet the transition team

Find out who’s who in the transition team and explore opportunities to join the team.

Read more

BEIS School

There are lots of exciting seminars, suitable for all staff, coming up in the next few weeks – see the find out more on the intranet.

Potter’s childhood pet Peter Piper.  In her mid-late 20s in the 1890s, and seeking an independent income, Potter sold a number of her drawings as greetings cards and book illustrations.  This gave her the inspiration to write and illustrate her own material.


DCLG’s Relationship with Parliament

Thursday 3 November, 10:00am – 12:30pm

More details

Introduction to Local Government Policies

Tuesday 8 November, 10:00am – 4:30pm

More details

All DCLG November L and D Events

Details here

The first edition of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”, self-published in December 1901, and republished by Frederick Warne and Co. in October 1902.  An instant best-seller, Potter’s wrote 24 children’s stories in all.  Approximately 2 million of her works are still sold every year, approximately four every minute.

3. Across the Country…And Beyond

The Future of Public Sector Apprenticeships

In the May 2016 Enterprise Act the government pledged to have 3 million new apprenticeship starters by 2020 representing an increase of 25% on the number of starts achieved in the last Parliament.

With disparity between the number of apprentices taken in by the public and private sectors a lot of this growth is expected to come from increasing the number of public sector apprenticeships available. To achieve this it is muted that the government will set a target of 2.3% apprentices for each English public sector organisation that has a staff of over 250.

It is therefore essential public sector organisations make use of the new Apprenticeship Levy which will be introduced 6th April 2017 to help fund new apprenticeship schemes. To understand how you will be affected, join HR, skills and training leaders at, ‘The Future of Public Sector Apprenticeships’, an interactive strategy discussion taking place 6th December 2016 in Central London.


  • Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeships Service, Skills Funding Agency (SFA) 
  • Carl Cresswell, Deputy Director of Apprenticeships, Apprenticeships Directorate, Department for Education (DFE)
  • Cllr Phillip Atkins, Local Government Association Executive Board, Local Government Association

ALSO CONFIRMED: Greg Hobbs, Joint Head of Fast Stream & Early Talent , Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeships will deliver an interactive case study entitled, ‘Attracting and Retaining Central Government Apprentices’ which will cover the following key discussion points:

  • Offering a springboard into the civil service through a variety of roles and significant experience over a 2 year period
  • Providing access to a lively apprentice community to share learning opportunities to further career progress
  • Supplying apprentices with a mentor for the entirety of the apprenticeship process to help select appropriate pathways in future


Potter designed the first Peter Rabbit doll in 1903, registering the patent herself and making Peter Rabbit the first licensed literary character in the world.  She went on to design and market branded tea sets, paining books, bedroom slippers and board games, pioneering new marketing and merchandising techniques and acquiring a significant fortune in addition to her publishing royalties.
Demystifying Data

Next available date: 14th November

£495 + VAT

This course is designed to give delegates the tools to effectively understand, scope and confidently interpret data by unlocking the key principles, techniques and uses of quantitative analysis.

Read more

Data Visualisation: Simplifying Your Message

Next available date: 19th October

£550 + VAT

This course gives delegates an introduction to the visualisation tools and skills needed to create effective and interesting visual presentations that will capture their audience’s attention.

Read more

Managing Freedom of Information (FOIs)

Next available date: 15th November

£595 + VAT

This course is designed to enhance delegates confidence when dealing with FOI requests and when justifying their decisions.

Read more

In 1913 Potter married William Heelis, a solicitor from the Lake District.  Beatrix had bought Hill Top Farm near Windermere in 1905, and following her marriage to Heelis moved with him to a nearby property Castle Cottage from where she continued to develop her growing intests in agriculture, heritage, conservation and animal husbandry.
Funding for regional projects beyond the European Union referendum – partnerships, devolution and the transition of EU Structural and Investment Funds


Iain Derrick, European Regional Development Fund Manager, European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 Policy Team, Department for Communities and Local Government;

Patrick Magee, Chief Operating Officer, British Business Bank;

Sandra Rothwell, Chief Executive, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership;

Dr Peter Simpson, Director, N8 Research Partnership; and

Sarah Whitney, Founding Director, Metro Dynamics

Chaired by:

Tom Blenkinsop MP, Member of Parliament for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and Stephen Gethins MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson on Europe

Morning, Thursday, 9th February 2017

Central London

Book Online | Live Agenda | Our Website

Foreign and Commonwealth Office – ‘Understanding, working with and influencing the EU’ Practitioner Level 5-day Course (21 – 25 November)

Applications are now open for the 5-day EU course which takes place in London with an overnight visit to Brussels. In this changing political landscape it is crucial that we have the knowledge and skills to work within and with the EU. This course helps colleagues to develop EU expertise in order to promote British interests and deliver as our relationship with the EU transitions. To apply for a place, please complete this application form and return it to Morgan McArdleDeadline: Friday 21 October. Places are limited so may be decided on the basis of a sift. To note, Europe Faculty will cover the cost of the course, expenses including lunch and dinner should be covered by your home department. You must be able to attend the full programme and be SC cleared. Only successful applicants will be notified.

EU in the world – Foreign Policy Challenges

Chris Rampling, Foreign Policy and Development Counsellor.

Date: 19 October. Time: 12.30 – 13.30 Location: Entente Cordial. Further information and registration details can be found here.

Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey.  On her death Beatrix Potter left over 4,000 acres to the National Trust, land which later formed the core of what became the Lake District National Park.
Justice and Home Affairs Masterclass

Chris Jones, Director for Justice, Security and Migration, DExEU.

Date: 25 October. Time: 13.30 – 14.30 Location: Scott Room. Further information and registration details can be found here.

Engaging with the European Parliament

Kate Davenport, 1st Sec European Parliament UKRep.

Date: 1 November Time: 12.30 – 13.30 Location: Scott Room. Further information and registration details can be found here.

Negotiating and Influencing – Top Tips

Baroness Catherine Ashton, former High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission.

Date: 22 November Time: 12.30 – 13.30 Location: tbc. Further information and registration details can be found here.

Brexit Britain: what when wrong and what next?

The left overwhelmingly backed an ‘In’ vote in the EU referendum, but we weren’t able to persuade a majority of the British public to support case. Now it’s time to reflect and regroup. What stance should we take towards the negotiations? What does the exit vote mean for the huge strains that years of austerity have put on the European project? How do we defend free movement while engaging the public?

Date: 8 October 2016. Time: 11.00 – 17.00. Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Further information can be found here.

Beatrix Potter at Hill Top Farm with her sheepdog Kep.  In her later years she became a national authority on the breeding of Herdwick sheep, becoming the first elected female president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association in 1943.
Post Brexit Diplomacy – Tom Fletcher

With Britain plunged into uncertainty by the EU referendum, what does this mean for European and global diplomacy? Is citizen empowerment making it easier or harder to govern? And how can we ensure that diplomacy is part of the answer to the challenges of the 21st century, and not part of the problem?

Date: 17 October 2016. Time: 18.30 – 20.00. Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Further information can be found here.

The European Union at the Crossroads: Brexit and after

With the UK heading for Brexit, the European Union faces a historic challenge but also an opportunity to rethink its own future. Join diplomats, politicians and academics from across the continent to debate the future of Europe.

Date: 31 October 2016. Time: 18.30 – 20.00. Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building

Further information can be found here.

Europe and its Neighbourhood, Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management in the 21st Century

The second annual conference on Europe and its Neighbourhood organised in partnership with International Crisis Group and Al Sharq Forum will assess the effectiveness and external perceptions of Europe’s collective and national-level responses to the crisis in its neighbourhood and consider how Europe can use its political and social capacity to manage the current crisis environment.

Date:  14 November 2016. Time: 09.00-17:30. Venue:  Royal Society of Arts, London.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Expanding the role of universities in their local economies: devolution, skills and growth

Morning, Thursday, 8th December 2016, Central Manchester

  • Jacqui Ward, Deputy Director, Local Growth Policy and Delivery, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Kevin Richardson, Local Growth Consultant, HEFCE
  • Robin Foale, Santander Universities UK
  • Professor Ellie Hamilton, Lancaster University
  • Professor Mike Hinton, High Value Manufacturing Catapult
  • Matthew Rhodes, Encraft and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Professor David Smallbone, Kingston University London
  • Tristan Watson, Ignite Accelerator
What next for English devolution?

14 November 2016

The future of the planned devolution of powers to English towns and cities is in the balance.  The Mile End Institute and LGiU will bring together key thinkers and practitioners to assess its possible directions.

Time: 5:00 – 6:30pm
Venue: LGiU, 251 Pentonville Road, N1 9NG

Read more

The Mice at Work: Threading the Needle c.1902 by Helen Beatrix Potter 1866-1943
During her later years Beatrix Potter became an authority on traditional Lake District crafts, period furniture and stonework, inspired to devote a significant portion of her energies to heritage and conservation work by Hardwicke Rawnsley, the founder of the National Trust.

4. News and Reviews

This month in GRAD…..

Has been a busy one for us all as we have finalised the detailed advice for the Secretary of State on whether the statutory tests have been met to proceed with the legislation for eight of our ten deal areas. As a result of that we have begun the write round process for these eight areas to seek agreement across Government Department’s to continue with the statutory process of laying orders. In parallel to that we have been working with our legal team (Richard, Swyrie and Ruairi) and colleagues across Whitehall, particularly DfT, on finalising the first drafts of these orders which will transfer the functions and powers agreed in the deals and, in four areas, establish new mayoral combined authorities. A significant milestone last week is getting Parliamentary lawyers’ nod of approval on the draft Order which will confer the first set of agreed powers on Greater Manchester, and which we are preparing to lay before Parliament in this week.

As we reach this important stage in the process for implementing the deals members of the team, alongside CLoG, have supported Ministers as they visit West of England, Greater Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk and the West Midlands. We have also been to Manchester to meet with representatives from all the mayoral combined authorities and to support them as they prepare for their council meetings where decisions will be taken to proceed with these deals. The next meetings will take place in London on 3 November and Manchester on 17 November.

Finally, for those of you that haven’t already met them yet I wanted to introduce the new(ish) members of our team – Rose Fletcher, Sabine Stieber, Hannah Condon, Nicola Chissell, Louise Beckingham – although they have all been in the team for a few months now I think they have yet to make an appearance in the CLoG Blog! We also say goodbye to Leigh Bura on Friday who is starting a secondment to the British Transport Police Authority leading the work on devolving the force in Scotland. In the last eighteen months Leigh has lead the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act through Parliament and more recently has lead for GRAD on Liverpool City Region, East Anglia and the finance regulations. We wish Leigh the best of luck in his new role and an announcement of his successor will be made in due course.

Details of GRAD responsibilities and the people to contact are here: governance-reform-and-democracy-grad-team-details

The World Of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere opened on 28 July 1998.  Its 15,000 annual Japanese visitors testify to her remarkably enduring and international popularity.
Civil Service Live

BEIS West Midlands was flying the flag for the Cities and Local Growth Unit at Civil Service Live 2016 (near Coventry) in the summer.  Visitors to our stand included John Manzoni who was impressed with the wide range of activities covered by the team and very interested in our devolution work. It was a good opportunity to raise the profile of the Unit and hear about the work of other departments.


Civil Service Live is a programme of learning events organised by Cabinet Office and delivered in partnership with Dods. It is a fantastic chance to bring together Civil Servants working in government departments and agencies, and private sector organisations to learn, network and collaborate; sharing ideas to help make best practice the norm. Watch out for 2017 events in Manchester, Gateshead, Birmingham, and London (next June/July).



The CLoG L & D Day on Tuesday 4 October – Celebrating Diversity, Inclusion and High Performance

Reflections from the organising team

What does it take to be a diverse, inclusive and high performing team?

The saying that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is why I got involved in the development and delivery of the L&D day. We are all unique and contribute in our own ways within the working environment, and in our personal lives, and it’s about getting the best out of every person. We wanted to create a day that acted as a springboard for us to look across all of our diversity and inclusion characteristics and celebrate what’s working well and how we can improve.

Our working group was made up of passionate individuals with a real commitment to the day; each of us took a lead at different stages which created its own challenges and opportunities. The most important learning take away for me was understanding the different drivers for why people do the things that they do, including myself, and how to harness that as a strength. The day was a culmination of a true peer leadership group effort, and I hope that future L&D days are led by non SCS staff, but with their support and backing.

The challenge for all of us is whether the learning we all took from the day (as a whole unit collective) actually changes anything in our day to day practice. I’m confident that it will.

Organising the day was hard work and it took up a lot of time, but it was really worth it to work with a great peer group who all really care about improving diversity and inclusion. The highlight of the day for me was watching the videos (not mine!) and seeing other people’s reaction to CLOG members of staff opening up about their diversity. I hope that we can continue to do this and promote this feeling to make us a stronger team.

In all of the L&D events that I have been involved with I have always found colleagues’ enthusiasm and positive outlook very inspiring. Although the theme of each event has differed greatly (In particular with this D&I event), the motivation to deliver a successful day has been strong. Each event raises the bar for delivering on CLoG related themes to a high standard.

As we grow as a unit it is clear that we have a powerful network of partners and a knowledge base that we can utilise to our advantage. Our partners welcome working with us and we are clearly held in high regard by them. For me, our L&D events help to celebrate the relationship that we have with partners.

A real success, highlighting the passion from the unit on this theme. The organising was hard work and challenging, however I value the strengthened relationships I have made with colleagues in the working group.

Probably the last photograph ever taken of Beatrix Potter.  She died on 22 December 1943 at the age of 77.

September 2016

Welcome to September’s L & D blog…

Mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilsations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.

The first episode of Star Trek: The Original Series aired on 8 September 1966, exactly fifty years ago.  The franchise is an entertainment phenomenon and cultural icon, inspiring thirteen feature films and seven television series so far.

Gene Roddenberry, the show’s creator, modelled it on Gulliver’s Travels, intending each episode to work both as an adventure story and as a morality tale.  Fun and content. Interesting and worthwhile.  What better metaphor could there be for the CLoG approach to learning and development?

More specifically, the first series of Star Trek intentionally featured mixed race (and, indeed, mixed species) casts, a deliberate challenge to the divisions which beset American society with particular intensity in the 1960s and 1970s.  Subsequent incarnations of the show have continued to promote tolerance, peace, altruism and respect in their storylines. CLoG L & D day on diversity and inclusion anyone?

L & D: beaming up your career.

In This Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BEIS and DCLG Opportunities

3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews

1. CLoG Activities

 The CLoG Learning and Development Day – Diversity and Inclusion

Tuesday 4 October, 1 Victoria Street Conference Centre. 

It’s going to be great. Details in your calendar appointment.

Lessons From London

Friday 14 October

Robin Froggatt-Smith is putting on some in house L & D.  This session will cover the experience of the GLA in London, and what it can teach us as we implement devolution deals and mayors are elected in other English cities. Also what London might learn from this process as the new mayor’s administration pushes for further powers. 

Get in touch with Robin for more details.

L & D: equipping you for unfamilar challenges.

2. BEIS Opportunities

The BEIS transition

It’s here: https://intranet.beis.gov.uk/beis-transition-updates/

Parental Support Group: Challenges of, and top-tips on, being a working parent

12 October

This informal catch up provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges of, and top-tips on, being a working parent. Although this event has a particular theme, any issues facing working parents can raised and discussed. Hope you can join us, either in person or by phone. 

For more information on this and other activities of the Parental Support Group email: BIS.PSGroup@bis.gsi.gov.uk

Find out more

Hands on Science: NPL’s novel satellite technology applications

12 October

Novel satellite technology applications, come and see NPL’s demonstrations at the Community Corner, BEIS 1 Victoria Street.

Find out more

The Starship Enterprise and CLoG, two icons of exploration.
‘Buy in BEIS’ Procurement Drop-in: 5 October

5 October 2016, 3:30 pm 

Do you need help understanding the UK SBS procurement process? Stephen Mamone, Head of Client Relationships for UK SBS Procurement, is holding a series of drop-in sessions.
Introduction to Benefits Management

6 October 2016, 2:00 pm 

The seminar is an introductory session to benefit management. It will explain what benefits are and what benefits management is.

Read more

Introduction to Energy Security

7 October 2016, 10:00 am 

The seminar will consider how National Grid deal with peaks in demand, what will happen this Winter, the impact of renewables on security of supply and the plans in place to ensure secure supplies for the future.

Read more

The USS Enterprise crew spot an obstacle to their L & D plans, and they don’t like it.
Induction into Energy and Climate Change

10 October 2016, 10:00 am 

This seminar is for all staff new to BEIS and existing staff who need an overview of the work of the Department.

Read more

Introduction to Energy and Climate Change Statistics

11 October 2016, 10:00 am 

This seminar is for all staff new to BEIS and existing staff who need an overview of energy and climate change statistics.

Read more

Mental Health First Aid

11 October 2016, 11:00 am 

This short course provides an introduction to mental health first aid, aimed at individuals who are responsible for staff or people who simply want to improve their knowledge around mental health.

Read more

Always looking out for new opportunities to learn.

DCLG Opportunities

Introducing GRaD, the Governance Reform and Democracy Unit (Lewis Newbury)

Hopefully, many of you will already know the team in GRaD. We are the team that have responsibility to implement the legislation to deliver the devolution deals that have been agreed between Government and local areas (except Cornwall, which doesn’t need any legislation). We work closely with CLoG colleagues when developing the legislation.

So far we have delivered, with your ongoing assistance, mayors for Sheffield, Tees Valley, West Midlands and Liverpool, and a PCC mayor for Greater Manchester. We hope to give Tees Valley a Mayoral Development Corporation for the SSI site soon! This is only the beginning – we are busy working on a whole suite of other orders conferring powers on the devolution deal areas.

We are relatively new to joining Simon’s group in the grand scheme of things as we used to be a part of Local Government Policy Directorate (our divorce has been amicable and we see the kids regularly). We are getting to grips with the structure of CLoG, including the devolution strategy team and the policy teams who are helping us to forge wider links across Whitehall and the Local teams who are helping us engage with the deal areas.  We are keen to develop our links further and we thought that a good way to do this would be to hear from you at our unit meetings, so we will shortly be getting in contact with different policy areas to suggest this which we hope will be a positive collaboration for Learning and Development. We are, of course, happy to reciprocate.

Lastly, I should take this moment to shamelessly market our new and reformed group email address which should be used for any queries that don’t have a specific home or if you’re not sure who they should go to: grad@communities.gsi.gov.uk and of course the offer of coming and sitting with us still stands, it would be nice to see some new faces around our team.

The Cheron – some were born black on the left side of their face, others on the right.  They’re wondering if the CLoG L and D day would help them to get along better.
What you need to know about Judicial Review

Monday 3 October, 4-5pm, 2 Marsham Street.

The Government Legal Department and GRAD are delivering a specially-developed workshop for CLoG and BEIS Local colleagues working on devolution and local government reorganisation. It will cover:

  • Lawful decision-making and Judicial Review
  • What is a JR; why they are brought?
  • What happens when a JR is triggered
  • Implications and managing risk

Email devolutionstrategy@communities.gsi.gov.uk for more details.


He’s just booked some L & D.
DCLG Library Services

Did you know that you can access a wide range of information to support research and evidence-based policy from your desktop?

Electronic resources 

The e-library provides access to over 15,000 full-text electronic journals, academic databases for searching journal articles and reports, and other specialist resources on parliamentary information and news sources.

Books and reference journals

The small physical library is located in Fry Building, 1/NW. You can search for books and digitized Departmental publications on the Library catalogue. If we do not hold publications in the library or online we may still be able to acquire them through interlibrary loan or purchase.

Enquiries and research

Finding the right information can be time consuming. Our team of information specialists can help you track down references, advise you on sources and search strategies, or carry out literature searches on your behalf.


Library staff can provide you with further guidance and training on aspects of the e-library, such as subject searching on academic databases or setting up tailored news alerts on subjects of interest. We can also arrange briefings at Divisional and Directorate meetings or training on using our resources for small groups.

 Please look at the intranet for our location and other information. Please do not hesitate to contact Tim or Alyson via the InfoPoint telephone on 0303 44 42222 or e-mail Infopoint if you have any further queries.

Worf hadn’t been doing enough L & D.
Core Curriculum: Building your Resilience – a Health and Wellbeing Workshop

Mon 3 October – 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Core Curriculum: Understanding Company Accounts/Due Diligence

Tue 4 October – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Core Curriculum: The Unintended Consequences of more Restrictive Planning Policies

Wed 5 October – 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Core Curriculum: Yin and Yang Approach to working with Faith Communities

Thur 6 October – 2:00pm – 4:00pm

This workshop will help you better understand how we engage and work with faith communities, what hate crime is and what DCLG does about this.

DCLG Core Curriculum

Check out the full October offering here.

Trying new things, having a greater impact.

3. Across the Country…and Beyond

New Civil Service Approch to Corporate Induction

This new interactive website provides a a helpful reminder for us and there are lots of useful suggestions for induction more generally (username: civilservant, password: welcome). You can also find out about the history of the Civil Service, including Charles II’s band of “rough and ill-natured men” who have evolved into our colleagues at HMT!

Expanding the role of universities in their local economies: devolution, skills and growth

Westminster Higher Education Forum Keynote Seminar

Morning, Thursday, 8th December 2016, Central Manchester

  • Jacqui Ward, Deputy Director, Local Growth Policy and Delivery, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
  • Kevin Richardson, Local Growth Consultant, HEFCE
  • Robin Foale, Santander Universities UK
  • Professor Ellie Hamilton, Lancaster University
  • Professor Mike Hinton, High Value Manufacturing Catapult
  • Matthew Rhodes, Encraft and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Professor David Smallbone, Kingston University London
  • Tristan Watson, Ignite Accelerator
Next steps for local economic growth – funding, infrastructure and the future of LEPs

Westminster Social Policy Forum Keynote Seminar

Morning, Wednesday, 14th December 2016, Central London

  • Tom Walker, Director, Cities & Local Growth Unit
  • Paul Marsh, Head of Projects and Finance, Regeneration Investment Organisation, UK Trade & Investment
  • Aileen Murphie, Director, Department for Communities and Local Government and Local Government Value for Money, National Audit Office
  • Irene Graham, Chief Executive Officer, Scale-Up Institute
  • Gordon Merrylees, Head of Entrepreneurship, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank
  • Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council
  • Professor Martin Boddy, University of the West of England
  • Paul Hammond, Mott MacDonald
  • James Sproule, Institute of Directors
The Chief Security Officer is not sure if his L & D Champion was really justifying his position.
Europe and its Neighbourhood, Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management in the 21st Century

Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs

14 November 2016, 09.00-17:30, Royal Society of Arts, London.

  • Staffan de Mistura
  • Wadah Khanfar
  • Dr Karin von Hippel
  • Intissar Kherigi
  • Louise Arbour
  • Elizabeth Collett
  • Giles Portman
  • Mark Malloch-Brown

The second annual conference on Europe and its Neighbourhood organised in partnership with International Crisis Group and Al Sharq Forum will assess the effectiveness and external perceptions of Europe’s collective and national-level responses to the crisis in its neighbourhood and consider how Europe can use its political and social capacity to manage the current crisis environment.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Women and Breakthrough Leadership

Next Available Date: 18th October, £750 + VAT

This highly practical programme addresses the issues and the challenges women face in leadership, offering advice and approaches based on what is proven to work well in terms of leading and managing.  More details here.

Emotional Intelligence Leadership

Next Available Date: 24th October, £1,150 + VAT

This one-day workshop introduces the key concepts of emotional intelligence and equips those in senior positions with the skills and knowledge to lead their teams through times of challenge. More details here.

Getting the Best From People: 8 Ways To Empathise And Motivate In Difficult Times

Available to be delivered In-House

This half day course is designed to help participants make the most out of the eight key ways to enhance empathy and motivation. More details here.

Turning Your Team Into Heroes

Next Available Date: 26th October, £595 + VAT

This brand new course presents a unique way of addressing the age-old problem of getting the best out of staff. More details here.

The Civil Service College Data Series
  • Big Data and how to use it
  • How to visualise data
  • How to demystify data

It’s all here.

L & D requires appropriate clothing.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations Work Shadowing Scheme

Applications are open until 16 October for the next round of placements.  Details here: national-council-for-voluntary-organisations-work-shadowing-scheme

HMT’s “Thought Experiment”
  • Angus Deaton on using evidence well, 6 Oct, 11am, Audit Left, 1 HGR
  • Ian Goldin on globalisation and development, 7 Oct, 1pm, Churchill Rm, 100PS
  • Raj Chetty on improving equality of opportunity, 26 Oct,2pm, Churchill Rm, 100PS
  • John Hills on welfare myths, 7 Nov, 1pm, Audit Left, 1HGR
  • Winnie Byanyima on global poverty, 11 Nov, 1pm, Audit Left, 1 HGR
  • Muhammad Yunus on microfinance, 30 Nov, Time TBC, Audit Left, 1HGR

Details here: thought-experiment-autumn-2016.

Email Damien Conyngham-Hynes if you’d like to be put on the mailing list.

4. News and Reviews

 The CLoG Learning and Development Day – July 2016 – Engaging with Business


As October’s L & D day approaches, let us take a moment to remember the excellence of the last one.  Among other highlights, it featured the following:

  • Tom Walker on the confidence we should have in both our reputation and our agenda despite the political uncertainties which were particularly apparent on the day, foresight which has been fully borne out by all subsequent developments as the new government has been getting its feet under the table.
  • Greg Clark: cities are hugely important and at a critical phase of their development, 1/3 of the way through a move towards 90% urbanisation and stable world population by 2080. Did we all realise that cities actually have their roots in business, and not – shock, horror – in the wise and beneficent coordinating activities of Government? How can cities and businesses work more effectively together to help each other thrive?
  • Johnny Hayes MBE, from City of York Council, talked us through the transformation of Bushy Road in York
  • Kate Willard, Head of Corporate Projects, Stobart Group – discussed what business wants from government, and how government can provide it.  To be specific, she thought what business want above all else is: a safe, happy and skilled workforce; return for investors; sustainable and ethical operations.
  • Karime Hassan, Chief Executive and Growth Director at Exeter City Council, described how his local council has been transformed to make it all about growth. Self-reliance rather than grant-relianace. Can do attitude, meeting businesses directly and doing whatever was needed to pave the way to investment and growth.
The Gloucestershire Awayday, 15-16 September (Katie Jenkins)


We had a group of nine on an overnight visit based at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, and all who attended found it useful and had a good time.

Activity one was the LEP Annual Review.  It was brilliant, a mix of interview-style segments and snazzy videos showcasing current and future projects. LEP Board members had to wear high viz and hard hats to go along with the construction theme – and some of them were very comfortable up on stage playing to the crowd of some 350 attendees. Ian Durston from Swindon and Wiltshire LEP joined us on the day and was mightily impressed.

Activity two was visits to the two college sites. I was pushing for some kind of sign on the door of the science lab in the smart new STEM building we/GFirst funded at Cirencester College. The Katie Jenkins chemistry lab has a nice ring to it. The LEP and I are still trying to get Margot James along to officially open it on 21 October.

 Activity three was a visit to Berkeley. It’s a cyber, engineering and Green energy hub, being built to green standards as well as being there to deliver GREEN (Glos Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear) skills. The project promoters, Stroud and South Gloucestershire College, were cock-a-hoop about the Hinckley decision, for obvious reasons. They were also keen for us to understand how GREEN will integrate with the UTC also on site, both physically and in terms of the learning journey, and excited about the strong private sector interest they are already receiving for the wider Science Park also on site.

All that remains is for me to thank Katie Tite profusely for all her help with the logistics – she was totally on the ball and the day couldn’t have happened without her.

Policy School III – Blackpool (Alice Rutherford)


The third Cities and Local Growth Policy school in Blackpool was the first to be attended by Colleagues from OGDs working on Devolution and Local Growth working together around a single policy question: how to solve the unique housing problems of Blackpool?

In Blackpool we saw both the glittering highs – the Strictly ballroom and Blackpool Illuminations – and the sobering lows – neglected B&Bs, a dying local high street and a back alley murder spot.  Armed with a wealth of information supplied by the Local Residents association, the Chief Executive of Blackpool County Council and housing officials from Blackpool Housing Company, each of the teams set about answering the key question for the two days.

We identified three key causes to tackle in our recommendations: the burgeoning availability of low quality bedsits in converted bed and breakfasts used to ‘harvest’ housing benefit; the high proportion of people arriving in Blackpool ‘for a fresh start’ to escape debt, drug or alcohol problems; and, the lack of land available to build new housing.

The two days were incredibly valuable as both a reminder of the tangible effects our work has, and the value of devolution for local areas with unique and varied needs. The team did a fantastic job organising the event and linking up with Blackpool council and Lancashire LEP to provide an incredibly useful and insightful two days to grapple with tricky policy questions.

John Millar some further reflections:

I think it fair to say that the challenges the area faces made a profound impression on all who attended. I think the key issues facing the area are:

  1. How can you craft a future for the world’s first seaside resort catering for mass tourism when you have such a significant decline in those prepared to stay there overnight?
  2. Can devolution help local partners tackle high levels of deprivation and low levels of educational attainment and a lack of significant private sector employment – particularly at a time when the local authority’s financial  settlement is reducing?
  3. How can the area attract investment to help with economic diversification?
  4. How can individual community groups be encouraged to do something about their own neighbourhoods given the cumulative effect of empty buildings, shuttered up shops and a significant number of people in poverty and needing support to tackle a range of issues including mental health and drug addiction?

We were impressed by how supportive the local authority were – not only were their officers a vital part of our group work  but we had presentations from key managers and the council’s leader – (in the tower ballroom no less – if you have never been go!) and we were presenting our conclusions to a panel consisting of Simon Ridley, the Vice Chair of the LEP, the Council’s leader, the Cabinet housing lead and their Chief Executive! So no pressure then!  

The second day of the school was intense as the five groups had to summarise all their learning on the first day and make some recommendations on how the area could achieve a more balanced housing market. There are no easy answers here but we all thought that there has to be some link between benefit and housing quality, devolution of powers and money not just from Whitehall to the area but from the area to individual communities and an increased effort to attract new employers to the area to reduce reliance on tourism. 

Everyone both worked hard and had fun – thanks to Mick Allen, Kate Jones and Callum Whittaker for all their hard work on preparing such a useful event – as well as to Blackpool Council and the hotel staff.


Robin Froggatt-Smith also reflected on the two days:

New to Government, this was my first experience of Policy School. I half expected to receive a housing policy textbook and a lecture on methods. Instead we got full and frank views from officers over two days in Blackpool. Not only for this reason is Policy School a bit of a misnomer! Rather than a classroom exercise, it was an acceleration of the work we do every day – concentrating on a place, figuring out how Government can work with local experts, speeding up policy development to fit local needs – invaluable to new joiners and officials who want to know about the Unit. Even for those who’ve worked on this agenda for years, it’s a chance to step away from your emails and focus on one issue. And most importantly, it is to see policy consequences (in Blackpool’s case unintended consequences) with your own eyes. The walk to Kirby Road and down Central Drive will stay with me much longer than any slide, and gave me a more instinctive understanding of Blackpool’s challenges. These are many: 8.5k new benefit claimants a year helping to fill 3.5k Houses of Multiple Occupancy in the most deprived area in England. Therefore of course the policy question was not definitively answered, but this experience was less ‘school’ and more real partnership working between Blackpool and London, of the kind kick-starts solutions. I won’t forget it!

The Strategic Head of Development at Blackpool Council, Antony Lockley, had this to say:

The recent Policy School in Blackpool was a collective success and undoubtedly worth the investment of time and organisation. It was terrific to see officers drawn from across the different tiers of government grappling with the real public policy challenges confronting a very distinctive place. Place is where challenges and solutions truly come alive, and I could see that translate into the energy demonstrated by each of the teams. Valuable new ideas were fashioned across the two days, but the real benefit of the event is the initiation of conversations, relationships and learning that will extend long into the future.


And the Blackpool Council officers who took part commented as follows:

The Policy School provided a brilliant opportunity for us as Local Government Officers to engage at a more central level with our colleagues from DCLG, BEIS and other departments. Working within a town like Blackpool, which has a host of complex needs and issues, we often end up sat within a little bubble, working with the same approaches and coming up with similar ideas. Bringing 23 new perspectives to the table helped to momentarily burst that bubble.

I’d like to think the integration of our Council team members helped to generate a two-way learning process across the two days. Whilst I know it was useful for us to work alongside our departmental colleagues and view the different ways of thinking various units employ when tackling problems, I hope it was also of use to our colleagues to see how we operate locally alongside our community to address issues within and beyond our boundaries.

I think it’s safe to say that we all felt it was an enlightening experience, and an opportunity we’d take again if the opportunity arose. We even managed to send people away thinking Blackpool stays warm and sunny well into September, which rarely happens, so we might even manage a little boost to our visitor economy too!

Simon Ridley was very impressed.  You can read his blog about it here if you missed it.

Everyone’s focussing on the CLoG diversity and inclusion L & D day.

Line Management Interviews

An L & D Blog Special Edition

Management Cartoon

The BIS “New Managers Development Programme” helps new managers in the department get to grips with what it means to be a line manager, and someone in that category I have been part of the 2016 cohort. 

Getting a more experienced line management buddy is a central component of the scheme, and at my buddy’s suggestion I have conducted three interviews with experienced line managers from across the department so that I could benefit from their wisdom and greater experience.  Write ups are below for your interest and information.

Douglas Leckie, Cities and Local Growth Unit

Name: Carl Creswell

Role: Deputy Director, Routes into Apprenticeships and Work

Line Management experience: 15 years (15 years in BIS)

Carl Cresswell

Do you have a guiding line management principle?

“A line manager needs to be brave enough to be specific and direct in the messages they give their teams. When I started managing I was too concerned about hurting feelings and ducked giving clear messages a result. Over time I have found that telling people directly about my views on a policy issue or if something should be improved – either in their work or in their behaviour – has almost always actually improved my relationships with them because everyone has been clear about where they stand.”

Can you describe a formative experience you’ve had as a line manager?

“I learned a great deal from managing someone under the performance improvement system. This required significant personal resilience, and taught me the importance of having a strong network of peers to be able to talk to, how important my relationship with my own line manager is, and the need in high pressure situations like this to have assurance from those around you that using taking this approach is the right thing to do. I also learned the importance of starting poor performance measures early where there are significant concerns because it can lead to meaningful improvements in performance if you identify support needed for staff upfront.”

Can you describe a formative experience you’ve had as someone being line managed?

“When I first became a DD I had fantastic guidance from my Director. He explained the difference between the role I had taken on and what I had been doing previously, and helped me to see that – for example – if I found myself drafting submissions as a DD then I should be delegating more to my team. He then did a great job of stepping back and letting me get on with the job, giving me the freedom to shape my own role.”

Name: Euan Macmillan

Role: Team Leader, Economic Analysis Team (European Reform Directorate)

Line Management experience: 4 years (1 year in BIS)

Euan Macmillan

Do you have a guiding line management principle?

“I’ve actually got five, neatly summarised by the acronym DETCH.

1. Direction: managers need to set direction by deciding what people in their teams need to do, which can be tough when that differs from what people want to do.

2. Empathy: managers need to understand where others are coming from, taking the time to understand how people are feeling.

3. Transparency: managers need to be clear with their team about the decision making process behind the changes that affect them.

4. Cover: managers need to assure their teams that they will back them up and fight for them.

5. Honesty: this can be hard, but managers sometimes need to tell the people they are managing things they don’t want to hear. It’s important that your direct reports know where they stand with you.”

Can you describe a formative experience you’ve had as a line manager?

“I’ve got two such experiences that have shaped the way I line manage now. The first was a time when I was managing someone who was lacking in confidence. Having reflected on the reasons for this, I realised that the problem was as much to do with my management as her approach, and that I needed to let go and dump her in the deep end to give her the chance to swim. So I gave her a project for her to present directly to senior management, and it worked really well. She produced an excellent end product, and realised that she actually didn’t need that much support to do her job.

My second formative experience was in the context of working in a team under great financial pressure with programmes in danger of being axed. In that context I had a pre-maternity leave conversation with a colleague to discuss how her return to the team might work, but all that she heard was that her position was under threat and that I was considering terminating her position in the context of her maternity leave. In retrospect I realise I should have avoided the subject entirely, and it taught me the importance of empathising with those under my line management.”

Can you describe a formative experience you’ve had as someone being line managed?

“Having come into the civil service from academia, my first DD ripped my verbose and academic written style to shreds. It was pretty brutal, involving reams of tracked changes and line by line analysis of all my mistakes and poor drafting. For several months my manager took the time and effort to go through things with me in painstaking detail, and I’m really grateful for the effort she put in as it transformed the way I worked and helped me to adjust far faster than I would have managed without that support.”

Name: Elena Williams

Role: Chief Operating Officer, Financial Services Organisation at UKTI

Line Management experience: 8 years (2 years in BIS)

Elena Williams

Do you have a guiding line management principle?

“I have been greatly influenced by a book called ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute?’ by Richard Nelson Bolles which helps you think through what’s important to you in a job, in terms of the sort of people you want to work with, the environment that you work in and the values of the organisation that you work for. For me, the important things are (a) autonomy, (b) working for people I can respect and see as role models, and (c) getting the right level of support. So this is what I try to provide for the members of my own team.

I have found that focussing my management on these aspirations helps to create a relaxed working environment in which all members of the team can come and talk to me about anything that’s on their mind. I make a point of having 1:1s with my whole team, rather than just my direct reports, and try as much as possible to hold these out of the building. I find this helps me to get to know people much better.”

Can you describe a formative experience you’ve had as a line manager?

“No one particular experience stands out, but I’ve got a few specific things I try to do regularly which I have found helpful.

I try to give excellent performance within my team maximum visibility up the management chain. This is one of the ways that I can reward and encourage my team members in lieu of being able to offer significant financial rewards.

I’ve started organising regular half hour Friday afternoon downtime (known locally as Prosecco-and-alternative-soft-drink Fridays) with my team and our immediate neighbours to build up a positive working culture. We use these sessions to talk about issues of the day. During diversity and inclusion month we used the discussion to talk about how to attract more women into financial services roles.

As a consequence of that discussion I agreed to advertise roles in my team outside the usual channels in the interests of increasing diversity and giving the widest possible range of people the opportunity to apply.”

Can you describe a formative experience you’ve had as someone being line managed?

“I have found the unwavering support and encouragement that I have receive from my current line manager, Rodney Berkeley, as formative. I really appreciate the way that he supports me. He gives me the space (autonomy) to manage my sectors and my team in the way that I see fit, but is always there as a backstop in case I drop the ball. When I grow up I want to be like Rodney.”


June 2016

Welcome to June’s L & D blog…

Ali 8
“I shook up the world, I shook up the world.”

Muhammad Ali was born on 17 January 1942. In 61 fights over a professional career lasting 21 years he recorded 56 wins, including 31 in a row before being beaten by Joe Frazier in 1971’s “Fight of the Century” in New York.

Ali was acclaimed by many as the greatest world heavyweight boxing champion the world has ever seen. He was certainly the most charismatic boxer. His courage inside and outside the ring and his verbal taunting of opponents were legendary, as were his commitment to justice and his efforts for the sick and underprivileged.

Three times world champion, Ali harnessed his fame in the ring to causes outside it. He was a convert to Islam and the personification of Black Pride. He anticipated the anti-Vietnam war movement of the 1960s by refusing to join the armed forces.

He made goodwill missions to Afghanistan and North Korea, delivered medical supplies to an embargoed Cuba, and travelled to Iraq to secure the release of 15 US hostages shortly before the first Gulf war. Repellent though he found many aspects of US foreign policy – and repellent as the establishment found him when in 1967 it banned him from the ring for three years for refusing the draft – the nation embraced Ali as time passed, realising his unique ambassadorial value. In 2005, he received his country’s highest civilian honour, the presidential medal of freedom, from George W Bush, an incumbent whose views he must have detested.

You can read the rest of one of Ali’s many obituaries in the Guardian here.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, he said: “As a man who never sold out his people. But if that’s too much, then just a good boxer. I won’t even mind if you don’t mention how pretty I was.”

He died on aged 74 on 3rd June 2016 in Arizona.

In This Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews

1. CLoG Activities

L and D Day – Thursday 14 July

The next L and D day will be on Thursday 14 July.  It will focus on how we can engage better with business, and the agenda is shaping up very nicely. Bring your best questions, and have a look at http://www.gregclark.com for a flavour of what you can expect.

Policy School III

Policy School has now been confirmed for Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 September in sunny Balckpool. That is in the first week of conference recess. Colleagues from CLoG and those working with us from other directorates and departments on devolution at any grade are welcome to apply. Please forward this invitation to your partners outside the team.

Participants will be learning policy tools and techniques and applying them to create policy proposals which will be judged on day 2 by Blackpool Council’s leader and Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. We will arrange accommodation.

Please apply by filling out the table in the document attached below and emailing it to Kate Thompson.

Policy School Application Form

To maximise the opportunities to learn from each other across government, we will allocate spaces to applicants based on their responses to the questions below and to achieve a good mix across teams. Please contact Kate Thompson, Kate Jones, Mick Allen or Callum Whittaker for further details.

Freedom of Information Requests

Please find attached David Masino’s guide to (almost) everything you might want to know about FOIs.

FoI Requests – A CLoG Guide

Ali 1
Accused of being a loudmouth for always predicting he would beat his opponents, Ali needed no words and just two props to fashion a comic response.

2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities


Aspiring Managers Programme

The Aspiring Managers programme is being rolled out following an extremely successful pilot in 2015. The programme is due to launch in September 2016, with applications open from 20th June to 5th August.

Please keep checking the Aspiring Managers intranet page for all of the latest updates and details of the application process. We’ll also be sending out another newsletter with more information over the coming weeks.

Aspiring Managers is a key element of the Management Matters initiative and a top priority for the department. The programme provides those who are not currently managers, but have the potential to take on a managerial role within two to three years, with a host of practical managerial skills and experiences.

Feedback from the pilots was fantastic, with a whopping 90% of participants confirming they’d recommend the programme to others and that it helped development their management skills.

If you’re interested then please do consider applying and send details to any of your colleagues who could benefit from the programme.

UK Devolution and EU Policy Making Seminar

Wednesday 30 June 14:00 – 15:00

The EU Skills Academy is very pleased to invite you to a one hour seminar on UK devolution and EU policy making. The Devolved Administrations (DAs) have a legitimate interest in the preparation and presentation of UK Government’s EU policy. The aim of this seminar is to provide helpful advice on how and when to engage the DAs when dealing with EU policy and European institutions and will consist of two  presentations:

 1. BIS devolution  Team on UK Devolution and new Cross Whitehall Guidance:

  • When and how Policy leads should consider and consult the devolved Administrations in the EU policy making context

2. Rory O’Donnell UKREP  Presentation on:

  • The UKREP perspective and some hands on experience  of working with DA’s on European issues

To book your place click on Eventbrite link : https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uk-devolution-and-eu-policy-making-tickets-25926590129

Ali 2
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
Knowledge Series:Award Winning Policy Excellence – The Drug Driving Law

Wednesday 6th July 9:00-11.30

This is a series of events for senior policy advisers G6/7 across government to look at how to create better, more innovative and open policy making

Aim and Objectives

  • Learn about policy excellence at this event from the winners of the 2015 Policy Award at the Civil Service Awards.
  • Hear how fellow policy professionals in two departments worked jointly to develop and implement an enforceable new Drug Driving Law, demonstrating user-centred, evidence based approaches, and showcasing open policy-making. 


  • Martin Ellis, DfT
  • Duncan Harding, Home Office
  • Catriona Henderson, DfT

To book your free place please email us at: policy.profession@policyprofession.gsi.gov.uk

Changes to the BIS Outreach programme

BIS Outreach is moving to a more proactive, informal and inclusive approach, where there will no longer be a centrally organised programme of Outreach activity. Instead staff throughout the department will be encouraged to discuss and arrange visits and events within their policy groups and one another, and in order to support this an Outreach forum has been created:


The forum provides an area where these discussions can happen, as well as tips and guidance for staff looking to arrange Outreach activity.

Contact Robin Gray robin.gray@bis.gov.uk for more information.

General BIS L & D Opportunities

Army Reserve Leadership Session

‘Buy in BIS’ Procurement Drop-in: 29 June

Future Leaders Scheme (FLS) and Senior Leaders Schemes (SLS)

Temporary SEO opportunity Portfolio Team (Digital Group)

Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI): BIS Representative

Volunteers for the SCS and Team Support Review (Corporate Project)

Parental Support Group Buddy

Help with consultation analysis – consumer switching

Digital Leadership course for G6 and DDs

Ali 3
Olympic gold in 1960 aged 18.


DCLG Mentoring Programme

See below for a link to an intranet article about the DCLG mentoring programme.


3. Around the Country…And Beyond

The future for transport policy in the North

Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum Keynote Seminar

Morning, Wednesday, 13th July 2016, Central Manchester

  • David Brown, Chief Executive, Transport for the North
  • Dr Jon Lamonte, Chief Executive, Transport for Greater Manchester
  • Russell Goodenough, Fujitsu
  • Gary Hodgson, Peel Ports
  • Alex Hynes, Arriva Rail North
  • Adam Jupp, Manchester Airport
  • David Sidebottom, Transport Focus
  • Joanna Whittington, Office of Rail and Road

 Chaired by Lord Haskins, Chairman, Humber Local Enterprise Partnership

Book Online | Live Agenda | Website

High value manufacturing in the UK – next steps for investment, innovation and competitiveness

Westminster Business Forum Keynote Seminar

Morning, Thursday, 14th July 2016, Central London

  • Clare Marett, Head of Manufacturing, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Seán O’Reagain, Deputy Head of Unit, Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Biotechnologies, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Dr Zoë Webster, Head of High Value Manufacturing, Innovate UK
  • Jason Aldridge, Arrowsmith Engineering
  • Jonathon Clark, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Dick Elsy, High Value Manufacturing Catapult
  • Jonny Hazell, Green Alliance
  • Brian Holliday, Siemens
  • Caroline Jackson, UK Trade & Investment
  • Neil Mantle, Rolls Royce and Steering Group for the UK AM Strategy
  • Mike Rigby, Barclays
  • Ann Watson, Semta

 Chaired by Chris White MP, Chair, All‐Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group and Stephen Kinnock MP, Member, All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group

Book Online | Live Agenda | Our Website | Unsubscribe

Ali 4
The expressions, the simmering contempt, the outfits, the saturated colours – Ali and George Foreman before Ali’s second fight with Jerry Quarry in 1970.
The sharing economy in the UK: regulation, growth and policy priorities

Westminster eForum Keynote Seminar

Morning, Thursday, 15th September 2016, Central London

  • Debbie Wosskow, Chair, Sharing Economy UK (SEUK) and Chief Executive Officer, Love Home Swap
  • Helen Goulden, Executive Director, Innovation Lab, Nesta
  • Sam James, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Hassle.com
  • Richard Laughton, Chief Executive Officer, easyCar
  • Clive Seddon, Partner and Head of TMT & Sourcing, Pinsent Masons
  • Steve Garelick, Branch Secretary for Professional Drivers, GMB Union
  • Roddy Campbell, Founder, Vrumi
  • Olivia Sibony, Co-Founder, Grub Club

Book Online | Live Agenda | Our Website

Contract Management Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

The Government has backed a third MOOC with a view to increasing the commercial capabilities of civil servants.  This one began in May, but you can read about it via the link below with a view to getting ahead of the game before the next one comes along:


Strand Group 13: HM Treasury and the Supply Side

Kings College – Policy Institute

18.00 on Thursday 7th July at HM Treasury

The thirteenth event of the Strand Group, the Policy Institute at King’s signature seminar series. John Kingman, Acting Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury, will discuss ‘HM Treasury and the Supply Side’. The event is sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Tickets are very limited. If you would like to apply please send your name and affiliation to strandgroup@kcl.ac.uk Confirmations will be sent a week before the event.

Ali 5
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
Economics for Policy Advisors

19 – 21 July, London

This three-day programme of workshops introduces and explains the concepts and tools of economics and their application to government policy. Economic principles furnish participants with a set of tools to enhance their own skills and to enable them to work more closely with economists. Applying these principles to policy, and interventions across government, builds confidence and ensures that the theory is relevant, transferable and accessible. These courses bring together participants from different departments; applications and case studies ensure all are able to relate these to their own areas of work and that of government as a whole. The approach is always discursive and participatory, involving the latest policies and government initiatives. Participants receive a textbook and electronic materials to enable continued learning and support.

This course was developed by Professor Alison Wride, working in conjunction with the GES. Both open and closed departmental variants have been delivered across government for more than five years. All have received excellent feedback and many participants go on to recommend it to colleagues. For any questions about content, level etc, please feel free to contact alison.wride@emllearning.co.uk

To book a place on the course please click here.

The Royal Society Pairing Scheme

Applications are now open for the Royal Society Pairing Scheme. This is your opportunity, as a civil servant, to be paired with a talented UK based researcher (from a university or industry) to understand or re-engage with the research process and explore methods of knowledge sharing with scientists in the field.

The scheme was set up by the Royal Society in 2001 to help build bridges between parliamentarians and some of the best scientific researchers in the UK. Through a partnership with the Government Science & Engineering (GSE) Profession, civil servants have been included since 2009. By pairing academic research scientists with either a civil servant or MP, the scheme aims to:

  • help scientists recognise the potential methods and structures through which they can feed their scientific knowledge to Parliament and Government;
  • help practising research scientists understand the pressures under which MPs and civil servants operate;
  • give MPs and civil servants the opportunity to forge direct links with practising research scientists; and
  • give MPs and civil servants the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the process of scientific understanding and topical research and ultimately to be able to bring this knowledge into better informed discussions and decision making.

Please note that the scheme does not pair civil servants with MPs.

This year the ‘Week in Westminster’ will run from Monday 28 November – Thursday 1 December, providing a programme of activities for the scientists including seminars, workshops, shadowing opportunities and a tour of Westminster. This induction aims to give the scientists a taste not only of the approach to science policy within Government, but of Parliament and the civil service in general.

As part of the Week in Westminster your scientist will shadow you in your organisation for two days (29 and 30 November). Sometime after the Week in Westminster, the civil servant partners spend some time shadowing the academic scientists at their home institutions. You will also have the opportunity to meet the other scientists on this year’s Pairing Scheme. Last year’s participants also had the opportunity of meeting with the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Mark Walport, and posting him some difficult questions about the role of science in Government.

To apply for the Pairing Scheme, please contact  gse@go-science.gsi.gov.uk for an application form, which should not take long to fill in.

The deadline for applications is Friday 8 July 2016. For more information on the Pairing Scheme please click here. (Please note, this is publically available information and therefore includes information on the external scientist half of the scheme that has already closed. We are now looking for Civil Servant pairs).


An interesting interview about the Government’s approach to secondments with Chief People Officer Rupert McNeil.


Ali 6
“I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalised a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”

4. News and Reviews

Business Case School (Douglas Leckie)

Zainab Agha organised two day-long business case schools in London and Manchester which were both extremely well received by all who attended.  Indeed in judges’ Jacinda Humphry and Stephen Aldridge’s view such training should be compulsory across the whole of DCLG, if not the whole of government.

To summarise the day briefly, we covered the five constituent parts of a business case in their conventional order, namely moving from the big picture to the finer detail.

  1. The Strategic Case: why act?
  • The context: wider government priorities and policies
  • The problem: market failure or problems of equity
  • The proposal: rationale for intervention, and how it fits with existing policies.

2. The Economic Case: what is the public value?

  • Identifies a wide range of options
  • Sets out Net Present Public Value (difference between the costs and benefits), Benefit Cost Ratio (ratio of benefits to costs) and analyses the additionality anticipated, i.e. the extent to which the proposal would increase public value.

3. The Commercial Case: how would the proposal be implemented?

  • Sets out the procurement strategy

4. The Financial Case: how would the proposal be funded?

  • Budget Statement: how much will be spent on each component over the lifetime of the proposed investment?
  • Funding Statement: who is contributing what?
  • Cash Flow Statement: what is the timing of the proposed income and expenditure?

5. The Management Case: how will it be delivered?

  • Governance and project management
  • Project plan
  • Risk management
  • Evaluation
  • Change management/evaluation plan
Ali 7
“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
Whitehill and Bordon Awayday (Kate Cornford and Toni Wooton)

Around 15 colleagues from across CLoG went to visit Whitehill and Bordon in EM3 LEP on Thursday 16th June at Kate Cornford’s invitation, and gained a fascinating insight into the sharp end of local growth delivery.

Whitehill and B

When the Army’s Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering relocated from Whitehill & Bordon in 2015 it freed up approximately 100 hectares of land. East Hampshire District Council’s Masterplan for the area envisaged a population increase from 16,000 to 21,000, delivering 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, a thriving new town centre, and protection of 150 hectares of natural environment over the next 20 years.

However, as Kevin Bourner (HCA’s Head of Area) outlined, the HCA has been crucial in kick-starting this regeneration by providing upfront investment. The LEP, in recognition of the importance of this site for the wider area, has provided funding to enable delivery of a key relief road. HCA have carried out de-risking works including removing the private network of utilities, and delivering Suitable Alternative Green Space required for the local community. £26m public sector investment over the last three years is now starting to see tangible returns in the form of gathering momentum across the whole redevelopment.

Link Road 2
At Quebec Park bats nesting in the garrison buildings while the site was left derelict are being re-housed in £50,000 bat hotels.

Kevin made clear the progress made on the site has been in no small part due to the mindset shared by all involved, including the local authorities. For the first time in living memory the planning committee gave unanimous support to the project, and did so within 10 months of the application being submitted.

However, developers including Barratt Homes, Radian Homes and a Taylor Wimpy/Dorchester JVP did point out that these partnerships have been tested by the capacity within local authorities, particularly the number of planners employed to review applications. DCLG grants to support students studying planning had been enormously beneficial to ensure the pipeline of planners needed to meet building demand.

Link Road 1
The link road outside Louisburg Barracks which was delayed by a badger who disagreed with planners about his relocation to the local National Park and trundled back on site.

The highlight was seeing the site as it emerges from the ground and understanding some of the complexities and challenges which lie at the heart of the development. Some additional points of interest included the halting of demolition works due to the historic significance of the graffiti bricks within the officers’ mess, bats who had made some derelict buildings their home and were now being rehoused in £50,000 bat hotels, and that a key link road (above) would be delayed by 3 months because a badger didn’t want to relocate to the National Park that the site borders.

Ali Frazier
Muhammad Ali and George Frazier in 2003.


May 2016

Welcome to May’s L & D blog…

CLoG Picture for Blog
David Henson, Alex Brown, Kate Jones and Jack Minty at the launch of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Reform, Decentralisation and Devolution’s report on devolution in March

In This Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews
5. Update from the CLoG L & D Google Community forum

1. CLoG Activities

CLoG Policy School III

The third CLoG Policy School is happening in September, and will be the first to involve colleagues working with us from across Whitehall to devolve powers to local areas. The Cities and Local Growth Policy School is one of the unit’s flagship L&D opportunities. It’s an intensive two day event exploring a range of policy tools and techniques and applying them to develop new place-based policies. Participants will be challenged to generate and present a real policy idea to increase local growth in Blackpool. Participants will be given the opportunity to hone their policy-making expertise through sessions with the Cabinet Office’s Policy Lab and other experts.

More details will be shared in the coming weeks, but if you have any questions in the meantime, do contact one of the Policy School organisers: Kate Thompson, Mick Allen, Kate Jones and Callum Whittaker.

Katherine and Jonathan Edwards CBE
Katherine O’Connor meeting Jonathan Edwards. If you think about it local growth is a bit like the triple jump…

The Return of the CLoG Policy Forum…

The CLOG Policy Forum has now been running off and on for almost 18 months, is chaired by Robert Keeling and meets on average every few weeks in 2MS. CLOG colleagues are invited to speak about a subject and then it opens for discussion and questions. Although it is meant to be fun, it is also a good opportunity to learn about new subjects, share “specialist subjects” with colleagues and also float new ideas.

Subjects people have spoken about previously have varied enormously – from  the economic value of the natural environment (Ben Whitlock), the economics of Victorian pets (Alice Rutherford), the economics of Christmas (Rob K), Dutch economic history (Paul Miller), Chester (David Herson) and Seattle (Joe Manning). Volunteers are always welcome! Let Rob Keeling know if you’d like to lead a session.

See below for reviews of some recent sessions.

March – Victorian Dog Ownership (Alice Rutherford)

In March I ran a session on Victorian dog ownership inspired by the larger than life-size, bejewelled sculpture of a pet Newfoundland dog displayed in the V&A Museum (see below).

We talked about the myths and legends circulated in the Victorian press about Newfoundlands’ life-saving abilities, the boom of artists painting animals under the patronage of Queen Victoria and the heroes of novels like Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre with their pet Newfoundlands.

We also looked at commercialisation and status. From the first dog shows run by the entrepreneurial dog biscuit salesman Mr Cruft in 1891, to the specially designed luxury train carriages designed to carry them. We went on to discuss the queen and her pets, and what our choice of pets say about us today.

Bashaw the Dog

May – The Ruhr Valley (Rob Keeling)

  • The Ruhr Valley in Western Germany is home to more than 12 million people and is one of the largest urban areas in Europe.
  • As a post-industrial region which has successfully reinvented itself there are a number of things which similar regions in the UK could learn from it.
  • The Ruhr Valley is polycentric (similar to the Tees Valley) and is run by an organisation based in Essen which is similar to a LEP called the “Regionalverband Ruhr”. It has an integrated transport system and uniform ticketing system.
  • The industrial history of the Ruhr is based around coal, steel and chemical industries (e.g. ThyssenKrupp based in Essen) and has always been central to German history.
  • Germany has historically been extremely localised, consisting of several hundred small states each with own ruler, currency, laws etc. The Ruhr area was intimately linked to the rise of Prussia and its role in the unification of Germany in the 19th C.
  • It was occupied as a result of the Versailles Treaty and then key to producing armaments for Hitler.
  • The Ruhr was also central to economic miracle in the 1950s and 60s, when rapid growth in Germany created huge demand for coal and steel. Similar to the UK in the 80’s, industry in the Ruhr experienced dramatic restructuring in the 1970’s and then sharp decline.
  • The Ruhr subsequently reinvented itself as a mixture of light industry (e.g. electronics), services and also culture.
  • Although constituent towns and cities have strong local identity (local beers,football etc) they have worked well together to present coherent proposals to either the Land (North-Rhein Westphalia) or central Government in Berlin.
  • In 2010 the Ruhr was one of the European Capitals of Culture (the first region to receive that title).
  • The flagship museum is a coal mine which has been converted into an art gallery (similar to the Tate Modern).
  • Good industrial design has always been important in the Ruhr, whether in design of collieries, coking plants and in particular pit heads. Hilla Becher’s photographs of industrial architecture in the Ruhr are famous in Germany.

May – Australian (Bogan) devolution (Ryan Maclean)

Ryan presented a policy forum outlining differences between the UK and Australia in terms of how our respective government are structured.

Of notable interest was the 1975 constitutional crisis in which the Australian Prime Minister was sacked by the effective Australian Head of State the Governor General (who is appointed by the Prime Minister, with the consent of the Queen). Australia still has a Governor General who, in theory, could still sack the sitting Prime Minister. We also discussed how the Australian federal parliament can override the laws of its constituent territories at any time.

Pete Northover learning and developing with his chainsaw.  Just imagine those logs as impediments to progression in your career.

2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

BIS Opportunities

Project Management – Finance transformation programme

Closing: 25th May 2016 17:00

This is an excellent opportunity to join a fast paced transformation programme in a project management capacity. Length of secondment can be tailored, and can be at HEO or SEO grade. The BIS Finance 2020 PMO Manager will play a key role in driving, managing and coordinating the Programme and its projects.

Read more

Getting to grips with Statutory Instruments – Introduction to Statutory Instruments

Closing: 25th May 2016 13:30

Are you going to be working on secondary legislation in the near future? Do you think that you might be, and want to know more?

Read more

Communications & Engagement Coordinator

Closing: 27th May 2016 17:00

An exciting opportunity to join a large transformation programme leading on comms and engagement across the function in core-BIS and our partner organisations. The role is open for 6 months, and we’re looking for a HEO/ SEO or Fast Streamer to join and inject energy, enthusiasm and new ideas.

Read more

‘Buying in BIS’ Procurement Drop-in

Closing: 1st June 2016 15:30

Come along to a 15-minute drop in session with any queries or issues you have with the UK SBS procurement process.

Read more

Digital in your day job workshop: 9 June 2016

Closing: 9th June 2016 09:30

Find out how to make the most of digital listening and engagement in your everyday work.

Read more

Citizen Space training: 14 June 2016

Closing: 14th June 2016 10:00

Learn the basics to make the most of BIS’ consultation tool, Citizen Space

Read more

Getting to grips with Statutory Instruments – The Role of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee

Closing: 14th June 2016 10:30

Are you going to be working on secondary legislation in the near future? Do you think that you might be, and want to know more?

Read more

Graham Ward – a dog lover – looking after his neighbour’s cats.  L & D takes on a whole new meaning when you think you are about to be savagely attacked in a manner you don’t quite understand.

Digital basics: How to listen online workshop: 15 June 2016

Closing: 15th June 2016 15:30

Why you should listen online, and the tools you can use to do so from Netvibes, to Twitter lists to LinkedIn groups.

Read more

‘Buying in BIS’ Procurement Drop-in

Closing: 15th June 2016 15:30

Come along to a 15-minute drop in session with any queries or issues you have with the UK SBS procurement process.

Read more

Digital in your day job workshop: 9 July 2016

Closing: 27th June 2016 09:30

Find out how to make the most of digital listening and engagement in your everyday work.

Read more

Sustainability in BIS

1st June 2016

Find out what BIS and Engie are doing to be environmentally sustainable in a corporate rensponsibility roadshow.

Click here for more information.

Cake and Eat It with Catherine Raines

16th June 2016

Catherine became UKTI Chief Executive in September 2015. She was previously Minister and Director-General for UKTI in China after a 25 year career in both the public and private sectors.

Click here for more information.

Lips - Julia Wilcox Choir - L and D Photo
Julia Wilcox and her pop choir “Lips”. If you need 75 people to sing some of the latest hits at your next party, you know who to ask!

DCLG Opportunities

Flexible Resourcing Workshop

Wed 25 May – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Flexible Resourcing Workshop

Thu 26 May – 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Join in DCLG’s tenth anniversary celebration

Thu 26 May – 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Flexible Resourcing Workshop

Fri 27 May – 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Economic and Social Research seminar: From market fixing to market making

Wed 15 June – 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Click here for more DCLG events in a handy calendar format.

3. Around the Country…And Beyond

Seconded National Expert (SNE) positions

The latest batch of SNE positions is now out, please visit the European Opportunities section of Civil Service Jobs (you must be logged in to view them) for the full list. For further information on how to apply and deadlines please contact eucareers@fco.gov.uk . You can set up an alert to receive all the latest SNE positions.

EEAS Secondment Opportunities

Political, ran/Strategic Planning Division, the grade is approximately equivalent to C4-D7 or HEO-Grade 6 in the wider civil service. The agent will provide advice, analysis – including briefs, papers and speeches on EU strategic policy and forward planning issues, for senior members of the EEAS including the HRVP and SG. Deadline: 31.05.2016.

To apply: Interested candidates should send a: Curriculum Vitae (Europass format) to the FCO EEAS Staffing Unit in the first instance by the deadline specified. If selected, you will be provided with guidance on how to proceed with your application and submit onto the EEAS portal.

The second Heseltine Institute seminar of the year will take place at the University of Liverpool on Tuesday 31st May at 4.30pm.

The seminar will centre around the screening of a short film by local artist Jayne Lawless about the experience of compulsory purchase and demolition of homes in a ‘pathfinder’ neighbourhood.

Jayne’s film shows the negative impact that well-intentioned top down policies can have on communities. It supports claims that the Housing Market Renewal initiative has resulted only in unnecessary demolition, loss of built heritage and poor quality renovation.

Please find more information in the attached document, you can register to attend this event at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/within-these-walls-tickets-25264011338

Without These Walls

Hilary Paxman and a home baked 60th birthday Cornish Pasty. Quite obviously an excellent L & D example: discrete, fairly ambitious and undoubtedly beneficial.

Made in the UK conference at Exhibition Centre Liverpool, Friday 17th June.

Ahead of the 2016 Made in the UK Awards, Insider Media are working in partnership with UKTI to bring together a fascinating day of presentations, discussions and networking opportunities on a number of key manufacturing themes including  Catapult, Big Data Robotics, Driverless Cars, Advanced Manufacturing, Textiles, Rail and Life Sciences.

There will be a Driverless cars session taking place from 2pm – 3.30pm.

Although driverless vehicles have been a dream for decades, fuelled by the impetus of global giants such as Google they have taken a major step forward in recent years.

US states have already passed legislation allowing their use, and industry leaders predict that within years vehicles will be able to drive themselves from one end of the country to the other, autonomously stopping for fuel along the way. But what opportunities and challenges does this pose for UK manufacturers?

If you would like to find out more about the speakers please click here. If you would like to register for free please click here

What is a Redbrick University?

5.30pm – 8.00pm, Thursday 2nd June 2016

Leggate Theatre, The Victoria Gallery & Museum, Ashton Street, Liverpool L69 3DR

David Willetts, Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation will present a lecture, ‘What is a Redbrick University?’

David is also a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, Governor of the Ditchley Foundation and a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

He was Minister for Universities and Science, attending Cabinet, from 2010-2014. He was the Member of Parliament for Havant from 1992-2015. Before that David worked at HM Treasury and the Number 10 Policy Unit. He also served as Paymaster General in the last Conservative Government. In November 2015 David became a member of the House of Lords.

David has written widely on economic and social policy. His most recent book ‘The Pinch’ was published by Atlantic Books in 2010.

If you wish to attend, please register at – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/

Cities in Transformation Conference, 14 – 15 July, Cambridge

This is the latest of Cambridge’s annual conferences on cities. It’s got a great line-up of speakers, including Andres Rodriguez-Pose and Ian Gordon from the LSE.

More details in the attachment below. Let Andy Paterson know if you’d like to go along.

Cities in Transformation Conference 14-15 July

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Introduction to the EU Budget

Speakers: Nitika Agarwal, Ciara Courtney, Oliver Haydon, Mark Warren and Julian Winkworth form the HM Treasury EU Financing team.

The objective of this session is to increase wider knowledge of the EU budget in advance of the Mid-term review and following the ongoing 2017 EU budget procedure. The event will provide a general overview of the whole EU budget with plenty of time for Q&A.

Date: 20 June 2016.
Time: 14:00-15:00.
Venue: Map Room, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

EU Negotiations: the importance of strong bilateral relationships

Speaker: Robin Barnett, previous HMA in Warsaw and soon to be HMA in Dublin.

Robin will deliver this session focusing on negotiating techniques and the importance of strong bilateral relationships to ensure the UK delivers successfully through the EU.

Date: 5 July 2016.
Time: 14:15-15:15.
Venue: K3.01, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

 EU Expertise: personal experience working on the Serbia and Kosovo deal

Speaker: Baroness Catherine Ashton, previous High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and First Vice President of the European Commission.

Baroness Catherine Ashton, will give an insight into her extensive EU career. As High Representative, Ashton won praise for her work as a negotiator in difficult international situations, in particular for her role in bringing Serbia and Kosovo to an agreement in April 2013 that normalised their ties. Make the most of this invaluable opportunity and delve into the insights of an EU expert.

Date: 5 July 2016. Time: 14:15-15:15. Venue: K3.01, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Civil Service learning Hub

Interested in improving your understanding of the EU institutions and processes? Visit the EU Skills and Knowledge Civil Service Learning hub, where you can find:

  • The EU Skills and Knowledge Framework and Self-Assessment to identify areas for development
  • Links to e-learning modules so you can get started today
  • Online guidance on a range of day-to-day challenges, such as ‘EU Law in Government’ and ‘A Practical Guide to EU Negotiations’.
  • Booking links to departmental seminars taking place across Government
  • Information on secondments to the European institutions

London School of Economics (LSE) – European Institute

Slippery Slope: Europe’s troubled Future

Speaker: Giles Merritt, former Financial Times foreign correspondent and current Editor- in- Chief and Founder of ‘Friends of Europe’.

Giles will argue in this lecture that the steepness and suddenness of Europe’s decline in the ‘Asian century’ will depend on the actions we Europeans undertake.

Date:  26 May 2016.
Time: 18.30-20:00.
Venue:  Old Theatre, Old Building LSE.

Further information can be found here, no prior registration required.

Konrad Adenauer Stiftung – The UK after the EU Referendum: Scenarios

  • Dr Tim Oliver, Dahrendorf Fellow on Europe-North America Relations LSE,
  • Dr Hartmut Mayer, Official Fellow and Lecturer in Politic, St Peters College, University of Oxford.

Different ‘scenarios’ for the United Kingdom and the European Union after the British referendum on 23rd June will be discussed. There will be analysis of the implications for both the EU and the UK arising from a vote for the UK to remain in the Union on that date or a decision to leave the Union. The event will offer a German and a British perspective covering a wide range of political, strategic and cultural consequences of the result.

Date: 31 May 2016.
Time: 17:00 -19:00.
Venue: Mary Sumner House, 24 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3RB

RSVP for the event here or ring 02073201677 for further information.

The UK and Europe: An insider’s view

Speaker: Jonathan Faull, British Official in the European Commission and Director-General of ‘task Force for Strategic Issues related to the UK Referendum’.

Jonathan’s wide experience on the ‘inside’ gives him a privileged view on Britain’s performance in the European Union: its interests and strategy. This will be relevant to the follow-up after the referendum, whether Britain votes to stay or leave.

Date: 2 June 2016.
Time: 13.00-14:00.
Venue: Shaw Library, 6th Floor, Old Building LSE.

Further information can be found here, no prior registration required.

The LSE Commission on the Future of Britain in Europe Report Launch Event

Speaker: TBC.

The LSE Commission on the Future of Britain in Europe aims to inform the national debate on Britain’s membership of the European Union, with high quality, evidence-based and balanced analysis. It aims to meet the public need for reliable information in the run-up to the national referendum on the renegotiated terms of Britain’s EU membership.

Date: 7 June 2016.
Time: 18.30-20:00.
Venue: Old Theatre, Old Building LSE.

Further information can be found here, no prior registration required.

Ben Whitlock L and D
Ben Whitlock, power tools and lots of flooring to be done. Just imagine those boards each represent a devolution deal…

4. News and Reviews

What Will Devolution Mean for Joining Up Local Public Services? – Monday 16 May 2016, expert panel convened by the Institute for Government

An expert panel convened by the Institute for Government agreed that English devolution provides a major opportunity to tackle long-standing barriers to local public service integration. Previously, local areas were ‘hamstrung by the lack of access to some of the big levers or benefits’, explained Andrew Gates, Head of Policy at Sheffield City Region LEP/Combined Authority. In fact, the Institute’s public services timeline shows that central government has tried to encourage integration at a local level no less than 59 times over the last 19 years, yet we have still not seen substantial improvements in public services. Devolution has the potential to change this through flexible funding arrangements that allow local areas to invest in integration and prevention, but to also crucially ‘keep some of the advantages and benefits of doing so’.

Indeed, we are seeing the benefits of devolution for public service reform across the country. ‘A lot of people think devolution is about the economy and growth’ explained Rachel Jones, Chief Superintendent at West Midlands Police. But, she said, sustained economic growth requires investment in skills, which, in turn, requires investment in early years (i.e. young children) and in the long-term resilience of their communities. Devolution in the West Midlands has spearheaded a focus on prevention, particularly on improving the life chances of troubled individuals by bringing together mental health, employment, skills and offending services. Likewise, devolution of the adult skills budget to Sheffield City Region by 2018/19 has ‘let the genie out of the bottle on public service reform’, which is now ‘happening by the back door’, according to Andrew Gates. Greater Manchester has gone the furthest; Rachel Pykett, Senior Policy Analyst in the Greater Manchester Public Service Reform team, explained that the ‘whole point of devolution is that we’re having a different dialogue with government…about how we could manage public services.’ The recent devolution to the region of more than £6 billion of public funding for health and social care is just one example of this.

The panellists and audience agreed, however, that four key areas need attention as we move from deal-making to implementation:

  • Set realistic timescales: Rachel Pykett reminded the audience that Greater Manchester has been on a ‘long journey to devolution’. Although the first deal was agreed in November 2014, it has been 20 years in the making. In contrast, as Rachel Jones put it herself, the West Midlands has been working on it for ‘only 20 minutes”’. Yet, the ‘race to devo 2’ is creating a mad rush of activity, even though some areas do not know yet what the right geographical grouping is and who their partners are. As the Institute has previously argued, tight timescales mean areas do not have sufficient time to invest in local partnerships and develop credible and deliverable proposals.
  • Ensure political buy-in. Some members of the audience argued that it seemed like devolution was being led by local authority chief executives and service leaders, rather than politicians. The panel agreed that sustained political leadership at a local level – through new metro mayors who will be elected in 2017 – is crucial to ensuring devolution deal commitments translate into real changes on the ground. As Andrew Gates highlighted, the role of the London Mayor holds important lessons – although the list of formal powers is limited, ‘the influence they have exercised is huge and has gone into territory you wouldn’t have thought possible’.
  • Reform regulation and inspection. Currently, national regulation and inspection regimes ‘drive partners down different routes’ focusing on a single service rather than citizen outcomes or pathways, explained Rachel Pykett. To ensure devolution delivers better outcomes, the panel agreed that Whitehall should encourage locally-led assurance, scrutiny and challenge processes that are responsive to local communities rather than the needs of national regulators and departments.
  • Get better at learning from one another. Andrew Campbell, Associate Director at the Local Government Association, highlighted that there is some diversity in how areas are taking forward public service reform agendas through devolution deals and that we are likely to see a ‘mixed economy’ in five years’ time. The audience and panel agreed that lessons from these various experiments should be shared widely to ensure progress is built on and mistakes avoided; but, as Rachel Jones added, there is a real risk that competition between local areas could discourage them from sharing lessons with those not as far along the journey.

Click here to watch the event in full.

L & D2

DCLG Housing Induction Course (Douglas Leckie)

DCLG regularly run these day-long events, so if you’d like to attend one in the future get in touch with Matthew Louis. I went to the one held on 11th May, and heard a fascinating range of presentations on most elements of DCLG’s housing policy.  Some key statistics which jumped out at me were:

  • The UK is currently building 80,000 fewer houses each year than there are new households being created.
  • 64% are owner-occupiers, 19% private sector renters, 17% social renters.
  • 86% of people aspire to own their own home.
  • Over 40% of under 34s rent privately, with approximately 38% owner-occupying.
  • The government is committed to delivering 200 000 Starter Homes for first time buyers under 40 in its Manifesto, and to 90% of suitable brownfield sites having permission to build by 2020.
  • There is a Manifesto commitment not to build on the greenbelt.
  • The commitment to build 1,000,000 new homes over the course of this parliament was made by Brandon Lewis following the election, and reiterated by Greg Clark, so has now effectively become a binding commitment.
  • The public sector owns about 6% of the land in England and Wales, with MOD alone owning about 1%.
  • There is an ambition to raise £4.5b by selling government land and assets by 2020.
  • Approximately 5% of the land surface of England is built over.
  • 47% of England is protected from development in some way (e.g. agricultural grade 1 land, National Park etc).
  • The Green Belt comprises 13% of the land in England.
  • DCLG Housing secured £22b in the November 2015 SR.
  • The HCA was established by statute in 2008 and has 900 staff, an admin budget of £80.6m, and net assets of £4.1b.
Children blog
L & D4

5. Update from the CLoG L & D Community Forum

And the prize for the most recent post on the L & D Community Forum goes to…Jacqui Ward. You’ll have to look for yourself to see the date.  Go and visit the forum for an update on the next L & D day and specifically the confirmed attendance of Greg Clark.

The Forum has 34 members, and I’ll be sending out a new round of invitations following this blog in case any more of you want to sign up. If you are registered why not log in, read the existing posts and add one of your own? If you’re not registered, it only takes a few seconds. You need to:

  1. Register for a Google account if you don’t already have one (if you have Gmail you do already have one).
  2. Make sure you’re logged into your Google account.
  3. Respond to the invitation to join the L & D Forum when it comes round (check your junk email folder, and let me know if you don’t receive the invite at all and I can add you personally).



Career Charter Cartoon

What is the Career Charter?

Tom Walker launched the Career Charter at the last L&D Away Day, and a group of us have been beavering (careering?) away ever since to turn words into action.  The Career Charter has taken the form of three specific workstreams:

  • CAREER CONVERSATIONS: Douglas Leckie and Philip Carr are encouraging everyone to have quarterly discussions with their line managers about their careers.
  • MENTORING: Iain McNab, Tom Tyler and Mick Lazarus are our new “Mentoring Champions”, ready to help you if you either want to find a mentor, or want to become a mentor.
  • SHADOWING: Donald Bogle and David Henson are ensuring that you have the opportunity to shadow someone.

Some Reflections from Rowena Limb…

Rowena Limb
Looking back on my career there are a few places where I could have tripped myself up fatally.   Are you doing the same?

Are your ambitions too low?

I distinctly remember how excited I was to meet my first SEO – in his large room with shag pile carpet – and thinking it would be really fantastic to be a Grade 7 by the time I retired.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do about my career for a while having become a G7 before I was 30.   We won’t all make Permanent Secretary or have an entirely Civil Service career, but equally don’t sell yourself short.

Are you avoiding a job because of the line manager?

A job of my dreams (well a promotion in an interesting area) came up but I had pushed it aside as I did not want to work for the line manager.  I have two reflections here. First no one stays around for ever.  That line manager left a month after I got the job and I found myself on tp.  Equally importantly you don’t really know what someone is like to work with until you have done it.  If you want that job then prepare yourself the best you can and put the application in.

What should I do next?

  1. Read the guides for more information.

The CLoG Career Charter – Career Conversations

The CLoG Career Charter – Mentoring

The CLoG Career Charter – Shadowing

2. Complete the survey to tell us what you are already doing and what you want more of:

CLoG Career Charter Survey

3. Make sure you prioritise time for a career conversation with your line manager – the start of a new reporting year is a great time to review your career goals.

4. Get in touch with any of the theme leads if there is something specific you are after. I’ll bake banana bread for the quirkiest career request!

Kate Cornford

Some Reflections from Louise Morgan…

Louise Morgan

It will come as no surprise to those of  you I’ve spoken to that I have an extremely annoying habit of expressing myself almost entirely in terms of song lyrics or straplines. And my views on careers and personal development are no exception:

THE ROAD IS LONG, WITH MANY A WINDING TURN: develop a sense of where you want to get to – the type of role or what would give you most pleasure to read in your obituary and pace yourself; you don’t have to achieve everything you want by 30, 40, or 60.  Most importantly, do something fun. The Civil Service is such a privileged place to be: it is by far the most interesting, challenging, rewarding and fun job I’ve ever had.

BE YOURSELF WITH SKILL: For me, “authentic leadership” is about being true to yourself – being self-aware and genuine, but also seeking to continually polish the edges. So I also think of William Hague (Chief People Officer at HMRC, not our erstwhile Foreign Secretary) who says: “be yourself with skill”.  It’s about constantly looking for opportunities to work on your shortcomings and hone your strengths.

DON’T SELF-SABOTAGE: I could have looked the job description for the Cities Policy Unit role four years ago and concluded I wasn’t qualified to apply.  Then when they accidentally scheduled the interview whilst I was on holiday, I could have given up. But I took a chance and gave it my best shot. The rest is history.  In the words of Kate Winslet in that well-known careers advice movie, The Holiday: “You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life!” – put your hand up and go for it.

JUST KEEP SWIMMING: Of course there are tough times, in any job.  Those days, I try to remember Dory’s sage advice: just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Some Reflections from Gareth Bradford…

Gareth Bradford

I grew up in Exmouth, went to Swansea Uni (rugby and seaside) and did a Geography Degree. At the end of the second year I broke my leg in three places. It was a huge turning point in my life and taught me something key – you never know what is round the corner so be flexible in your career. I did some volunteering at a city council planning department and…they paid me! I then did work experience at Devon County Council and they offered me a job on my last day. Put your foot through the door and see where it takes you!

I was then lucky enough to win a Government bursary to do an MSc in Planning, did various roles in Devon and eventually was in charge of infrastructure planning. I was a finalist in young planner of the year, met Steve Quartermain and decided there and then I wanted to work for him. He happened to work in DCLG so that was it – I was going to find my way in. Big lesson – think as much who you want to work for as what the job is. The rest I suppose is history – NPPF, neighbourhood planning, Localism Act. Then as many of you know I joined No10 as the PM’s adviser on housing, planning and local government but getting stuck into everything I could. It was a time I absolutely loved and taught me so much – just ask, power of elevator pitches, the importance of a team and a great sounding board, how senior politicians face the most difficult decisions and so much more. I left with a huge amount of respect for politicians and a desire to return to my passion – development, regeneration, local government and making change happen on the ground. And that brings me to here.

Well that’s all ok I hear you say but what are your big career lessons? I think a few are – really try and have a support structure that keeps you sane and in balance (I have got this wrong at times in my career and really regretted it); just ask and people will help you; I always aimed to just get better on every skill and competency I could think of rather than having too much of a plan (see broken leg and somehow making it to No10!). I always look for roles that would get me out of bed in mornings and put a smile on my face. I would strongly recommend constantly asking for feedback and acting on it – it really has helped me build my confidence. We all make mistakes so don’t worry about having a go – that is the only way real innovation happens.


April 2016

Welcome to April’s L & D blog…

Queen Coronation
Elizabeth II was crowned queen on 2 June 1953 aged 25, having been in Kenya when King George VI died suddenly.

Queen Elizabeth II turned 90 on Thursday 21 April 2016. She has reigned for 64 years.  Her devoted public service has inspired admiration and respect from republican and monarchist alike, and the celebrations which have marked her birthday testify to her personal popularity.  This blog is dedicated to her example.  As she herself said when she visited DCLG on 12 November last year:

A life of public service is an honourable calling: you have the opportunity to shape people’s lives, inspire others, and uphold the very highest standards. And so, to all of you here today, and to everyone whose role is to serve the needs of others, I want to say thank you for all that you do.

If that’s not enough to inspire us to sign up for some L & D, I don’t know what is!

In This Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews
5. Update from the CLoG L & D Google Community forum

1. CLoG Activites

Whitehill & Bordon Away Day

The Army’s Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering had a base in Whitehill & Bordon for more than 100 years .  After relocating in 2015 and freeing-up 100 hectares of land, a major regeneration scheme is underway which is proposing to deliver 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, a thriving new town centre, new schools, and protection and enhancement of 150 hectares of beautiful natural environment.

A unit Away Day is planned to Whitehill & Bordon which is part of EM3 LEP’s multi-site Enterprise Zone, with the issues of rural development, transport, skills, LEP geography and devolution likely to be discussed.  Further details will follow, but if you are interested in attending, feel free to send Kate Cornford an email.

Whitehill and Bordon

Civil Service Learning Portal

A new look for the Civil Service Learning portal was launched on 2nd March and can be found here.

Doncaster Racecourse 1955
At Doncaster Racecourse in 1955 to see the St Leger. An avid racing fan, Queen Elizabeth began riding lessons at the age of three and is renowned for her knowledge of thoroughbreds and breeding.

Civil Service Learning Closed Course Opportunities

CSL are offering the following courses on a “closed” basis, i.e. delivered specifically for a self-selecting group.  Why not take the initative and set one of these up for CLoG colleagues?

Giving feedback (£199 per person for an open course  or £2433 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

This three-hour workshop is a valuable learning opportunity for Line managers. It will provide them with useful tools and the skills needed to share feedback and have successful conversations with the people they manage.

Giving and receiving feedback helps people to build authentic and trusting relationships in the workplace and get the best out of each other. Feedback is crucial in developing people and raising awareness of what they do well and how they can get better.


Setting Objectives  (£199 per person for an open course  or £2433 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

This three-hour workshop is a valuable learning opportunity for Line managers. It will give them useful tools to have structured and motivating objective-setting conversations with the people they manage.

Setting objectives is extremely important to motivate people, as well as to enable high performance in teams. Objectives also help people to have structured performance conversations at the middle and at the end of the year.


Change Agility (£118 per person for an open course  or £2261 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

We are all experiencing change more frequently at work which is typically viewed as an opportunity or a threat. This learning will help users to understand their relationship with change and their natural response to it. It will then equip them with the tools and techniques to stabilise change and embrace it positively.

Level: AA-G6 (everyone below SCS)

Duration: 90 minute workshop with 3 hours of independent learning


Habits of Change (£118 per person for an open course  or £2261 for a closed course of up to 24 people)

Through repetitive practice, we form habits that enable us to perform complex behaviours without conscious thought. This learning will help users to identify and understand their typical habits, both at work and home. It will then equip them with the skills and strategies to develop or change their habits and be in charge of conscious thought again.

Level: AA-G6 (everyone below SCS)

Duration: 90 minute workshop with 3 hours of independent learning


If you or anyone in the group are interested in running any of these as closed courses, or have a query about the content of the curriculum, please initially visit the website. If you have any queries, you can contact us at support@civilservicelearning.uk or call 0203 640 7985 – the helpdesk would be delighted to talk to you.

These events are also available for open bookings for learners, in the usual way through the website.

First televised Christmas Day broadcast 1957
In the Long Library at Sandringham after making the first televised Christmas Day broadcast to the nation in 1957. The Queen is holding the copy of Pilgrim’s Progress from which she read during her message.

HMT “Thought Experiment” Series

World-class speakers coming to a room very near you.  Arranged by CLoG alumnus Damien Conyngham-Hynes.

Rachel Botsman on the sharing economy

Thursday 5 May, 3pm, Audit Right, 1 HGR

Michael Sandel on the moral limits of markets

Tuesday 31 May, 3pm, Audit Left, 1HGR

Joseph Nye on ‘is the American Century over?’

Wednesday 8 June, 3pm, Churchill Room, 100 Parliament Street

Peter Singer on doing good: for humans and animals

Friday 10 June, 3pm, Audit Left, 1 HGR

2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

Mentoring in BIS

Check out this article about mentoring on the BIS intranet.

Rothes Colliery 1958
Visiting Rothes Colliery, Fife in 1958. This was the Queen’s first visit to a coal mine and she spent about half an hour underground visiting the coal face.

BIS L & D Newsletter

Yes, BIS has one too!  Click on this article to find lots of opportunities and tips for development.

BIS Staff Forum

Yes, BIS has one too!  Click on this staff forum link and you’ll see how BIS colleagues are being encouraged to share their learning and development stories. So if you’ve been on some interesting training, or maybe just spent time shadowing someone else please feel free to share your experiences and learning, though AFTER you’ve shared them on the CLoG Google Community Forum of course!

DCLG Policy Profession Courses

Problem structuring and analytical thinking: introductory programme

Aimed at Senior Managers (Grade 6/7).

Two part course, 20th May (09.30-13.30) and 17th June (09.30-11.30), here in 2MS.  Contact

Drafting Complex Documents

Aimed at Middle Managers (HEO/SEO), Senior Managers (Grade 6/7) and Senior Civil Servants).

3rd June (9:30 – 17:00) in 2MS

For more information contact Zainab Agha.

Royal Hospital Chelsea 1967
The Queen at the garden party in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London, to mark the 50th anniversary of women in active service, during World War One. She was in uniform herself when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and became No 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor. She learned to drive and qualified in April 1945, and was subsequently promoted to Junior Commander.

3. Across the Country…And Beyond

Civil Service Local

Civil Service Local is a network of regional groups dedicated to personal development of civil servants based across the country.


CS Local facilitates a number of networks. Examples include: Continuous improvement; diversity & inclusion, staff engagement, and learning and development.  Each region also has a Recruitment and Redeployment network which allows informal contact between departments about vacancies and/or redeployment issues.


An excellent way of developing new skills and competencies for the individual and improving morale and engagement for their team/department. CS Local facilitates cross departmental teams who volunteer in their local communities, and, by working with people from OGDs, learn about the Civil Service in their locality as a by-product. Groups volunteer in schools, colleges, hospices, and with vulnerable citizens, including the homeless, offenders nearing release, and recent immigrants.

Learning & Development

Departments can nominate junior staff with potential (usually AO & EO) for CS Local “Academies”. These are either 4 day residential events or 8 days over a 6 months modular programme themed round a CS reform topic. Once the 4/8 days is complete, delegates work in cross-departmental teams on a project for either a year or 6 months.  A Middle Manager Academy for HEO/SEO has also been recently piloted.

Discovery Sessions

Each region runs on average 2 sessions per month. These are half day events of interest to all irrespective of Department. Some of the most popular have included Parliamentary Outreach, Leadership Statement, Using CS Jobs and Dementia friends. Some of the networks have also run sessions.

Last year, Civil Service Local facilitated over 2500 volunteering days and over 12000 staff development days. In so doing, they helped vulnerable citizens, inspired school children, developed capabilities and provided opportunities for civil servants to do something outside of their normal role.

How can I find out more about what is happening in my area?

Local contacts

I thoroughly enjoyed my day facilitating at the Loughborough College Employability Workshop. It was interesting to work with a group of young people who are getting ready to take their first step into the world of Full Time Employment. I was able to use techniques I had developed through our Train the Trainer workshop and found it extremely rewarding to pass on these valuable skills to a new generation! It certainly demonstrates that the skills and competencies we develop as Civil Servants are transferable to other working environments.

Brenda Mitchell, volunteer (December 2015)

Heath and Nixon 1970
With Prime Minister Edward Heath (second right) and American President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat Nixon at Chequers, Buckinghamshire in 1970. Since the Queen came to the throne, there have been 13 US presidents and she has met every one except Lyndon B Johnson.

Ministers Reflect

The Institute for Government have just launched a great new resource in Ministers Reflect. It’s a unique online archive that records – in former ministers’ own words – what it takes to be an effective government minister, the challenges they face, and what more officials can/could have done to support them.

RADA Courses

Shake-downs, focussed punching, saying the months of the year with a cork between your teeth…the RADA course I did recently is far and away the most enjoyable and best I have done (see review below).  Do check these out if you’re looking for something a bit different.  Click on the links for more information.

Study at Balmoral 1972
The Queen in her study at Balmoral on the year of her silver wedding anniversary, 1972. Even when she is away from London, in residence at Balmoral or Sandringham, the Queen receives official papers nearly every day of every year and her working day begins at her desk.

EU Related Events

The UK’s place in the world and EU membership

Organised by the University of Kent

  • Anand Menon (King’s College London)
  • Allegra Stratton (ITV News National Editor)
  • Karen Smith (LSE)

The purpose of this conference is to bring together leading analysts working on the questions related to UK and international relations to present their latest findings on the costs and benefits of EU membership for Britain’s diplomacy and foreign, security and defence policies. The aim is to present the findings of up to date and assessments, alongside past and present practitioners, to an audience of key non-academic stakeholders and opinion formers.

3 May 2016, 09:30-17:30 followed by a drinks reception, Rusi, 61 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2ET.

Further information and registration details here.

Interpreting the past, present and future of Cyprus

Organised by the London School of Economics’ European Institute

  • Hubert Faustmann (University of Nicosia)
  • Rebecca Bryant (A.N.Hadjiiyiannis Associate Professional Research Fellow)
  • James Ker-Lindsay (Eurobank EFG Senior Research Fellow LSE)
  • Haridimos Tsoukas (Dean of the School of Economics and Management)

This conference asks participants to reflect on the development of Cyprus-related research, particularly over the past two decades.

17 May 2016, 09.15-18:30, University of Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Can we believe the EU referendum polls?

Organised by NatCen Social Research

  • Professor John Curtice (Senior Research Fellow NatCen)
  • Peter Kellner (Commentator and former President of YouGov

Four weeks before the public is asked to decide on Britain’s membership of the EU, this event will examine how far we should believe the Referendum polls.

25 May 2016, 13:00-14:00, Portcullis House, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA.

Further information and registration details can be found here.

Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future

Organised by the London School of Economics’ European Institute

  • Giles Merritt (former Financial Times foreign correspondent and current Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ‘Friends of Europe’)

Giles Merritt will discuss that the steepness and suddenness of Europe’s decline in the ‘Asian century’ will depend on the actions we Europeans undertake.

26 May 2016, 18.30-20:00, Old Theatre, Houghton Street, WC2A 2 AE.

No prior registration required.

New Delhi Zail Singh 1983
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting the Indian President Zail Singh at his palace in New Delhi in 1983. The Queen has travelled to some 129 different countries during her reign so far, but does not have a passport because British passports are issued in her name.

4. News and Reviews

Confident and Resilient Leadership – a RADA in Business training course (Douglas Leckie)

I confess to being a bit skeptical when I turned up for this course on Friday 8 April.  What do actors really know about the cut and thrust of the 21st century civil service? Declaiming “Friends, Romans, countrymen” to a captive audience is one thing, but what relevance could the world of the thespian have to my daily round of meetings, emails and briefings?

How wrong I was – there is at least one thespian, namely the course facilitator Claire Dale, who knows a great deal about life as a civil servant, and she proceeded to take us through an amazingly enjoyable and practical set of techniques and approaches derived from the world of drama which are highly applicable to things we do every day.  Posture, presence, voice, body language…these are the tools of the acting trade, and to a large degree our tools as well.  I found the insights and ideas which Claire covered with us refreshing and inspiring in equal measure, and cannot commend this particular course – and by extension RADA’s other offerings as well – highly enough.

A potted summary?  Be open, not closed.  Stretch, don’t shrink.  Little and often to make big changes.

If you want to know more come and ask me, or, even better, sign up for one of these courses yourself!

Army Rifle Association 1993
The Queen, with Chief Instructor Lt-Col George Harvey in 1993, firing the last shot on a standard SA 80 rifle when she attended the centenary of the Army Rifle Association at Bisley.

The Four Principles of Good Learning

John Stafford of Civil Service Learning blogs on the: Four principles of good learning

Pope Benedict 2010
Queen Elizabeth II talking with Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 during an audience in the Morning Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh during a four-day visit by the Pope to the UK.

5. Update from the CLoG L & D Google Community Forum

Ummmmm…it’s quiet.  Very quiet.  No posts since 25 February to be precise.  The prize for the team L & D Google Community Champion goes to Natasha Barras with a number of really interesting posts, with honourable mentions to Andrew Sissons, Toni Wooton and Andrew Paterson.

As for the rest of us, not so good.

If you’ve joined the community but not visited it, please do so by clicking here.  If you’ve visited but not posted, what’s stopping you?  And if you’ve not yet joined, let me know and I’ll send you the joining instructions.

The resource is there and could surely be a thriving and extremely useful forum for us to exchange ideas and share feedback.  USE IT OR LOSE IT!


The Queen 2015
The Queen, 2015. The ultimate public servant?


March 2016

Welcome to March’s L & D blog…

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Hands up if you love L & D…

The Warriors…The Uber of HMGThe Insurgents

Just three of the titles bestowed upon the Cities and Local Growth team at last week’s L & D day.  Thanks to photographer extraordinaire Kamal Hussein for the images which feature in this edition of the blog, and I hope that the inspiration provided on that day motivates lots of us to take up at least a few of the many opportunities featured below.

In This Edition…

1. CLoG Activities
2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

3. Across the Country…and Beyond
4. News and Reviews
5. Update from the CLoG L & D Google Community forum

1. CLoG Activites

The CLoG Career Charter

Formally launched at last week’s awayday, this charter sets out the responsibilities of each individual member of the team, their line managers, and our Leadership Team when it comes to career development. If you haven’t read it already you can access it via the link below.  The headline message concerns career conversations, mentoring and shadowing: let’s make them happen.

Cities and Local Growth Career Charter

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Karen having just read the CLoG Career Charter for the first time.

2. BIS and DCLG Opportunities

Introduction to project delivery

Wednesday 13 April

Programme and Project Management (PPM) and its associated management of risk – has been identified as one of the key skills every civil servant needs. Organised by the Programme and Project Management Centre of Excellence (PPMCoE), this workshop is designed to give colleagues a basic understanding of project management methods and managing risks. The workshop will include:

  • brainstorming techniques
  • how to scope a project
  • drafting a project plan
  • risk and issue logs

10:30 am – 12:30 pm, Room F3.29 North West

To book your place please email PPMCoE.

Introduction to Management of Risk

Thursday 14 April

Book your place at this introduction to Management of Risk workshop, which will help build your understanding of Risk Management. Organised by the Programme and Project Management Centre of Excellence (PPMCoE), each workshop is designed to give colleagues a basic understanding of managing risks. The workshop will include:

  • identifying risks and minimising consequences
  • understanding the principles of risk
  • the department’s risk appetite and how it informs risk management
  • differentiating the risk levels
  • utilising tools/techniques

10:30 am – 12:30 pm, Room F2.38, South East quadrant

To book your place please email PPMCoE.

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Greg Clark approves so much of L and D he came to our awayday!

Digital basics: Introducing Twitter & Safe Tweeting

Friday 15 April

How can you get started on Twitter and make sure that you’re tweeting safely and in line with government and departmental guidance?

10:00am to 11:00am, Conference Centre, London, 1 Victoria Street – Book your place.

Engaging the European Parliament

Monday 25 April

90% of EU legislation is co-decided by the European Parliament (EP). If the UK Government and BIS are to achieve our objectives for EU competiveness and growth which benefit both our businesses and consumers, as well as a successful UK presidency of the EU in July 2017, we need to be able to effectively influence and engage with the EP at all levels from Ministers down to officials. This BIS EU Skills Academy seminar will give you the know-how. We are pleased to welcome Kate Davenport, Head of European Parliament Section, UK Representation to the EU Brussels. In addition, Laura Simpson of BIS European Reform Directorate will explain the role of the BIS European Parliament Coordinator.

 14:00 – 16:00, Conference Centre, 1 Victoria Street

 For further information: https://intranet.bis.gov.uk/event/engaging-the-european-parliament/

State Aid training – Tuesday, 22 March, 2-3pm 22nd March, St Paul’s Place, room 3.04.

The EU State aid rules are important to growth in the UK because they help ensure that UK firms compete on a level playing field, and that Government can invest effectively. But they can be tricky to navigate, attend this event to find out everything you need to know. Book here: State Aid Training

Devolution and Local Growth – Wednesday, 24 March, 10:30 – 13:30, Central London.

Government has engaged in the biggest shift in central and local government relations for decades by devolving powers and budgets to local authorities and combined authorities through recent City and Devolution deals. This Knowledge Series Event provides an overview of devolution to date and will give you an opportunity to explore how this agenda impacts upon policy areas from across Whitehall. Book here: Devolution and Local Growth

EU Single Market BIS Blog

BIS’ European Reform Directorate has been working to increase their digital engagement with businesses and consumers. Last year they worked closely with the Government Digital Service (GDS) to launch a blog focused on the EU Single Market on gov.uk. The team have had a number of early successes and are using Google Analytics to understand user interactions. The team are learning as they go and would welcome any feedback, thoughts or ideas for blog posts.

The blog can be found at: https://singlemarket.blog.gov.uk/. Please use the panel on the right-hand side of the blog page in order to subscribe to the blog – this is the only way to receive updates when new posts are published. Contact Jesse Williams for more information.

“Top Tips” for Ministerial Submissions (BIS)

The drive for improved standards in the quality of advice that is put to Ministers continues. So we thought it would be useful to share some of the top tips which have emerged from the BIS Policy Profession Peer Review Group. This group has been set up to assess the quality of selected advice to Ministers and has formulated some feedback that will be of interest to anyone about to embark on a ministerial submission.

The group found that:

–   The shorter the submission / brief, the better. There was also a correlation between the time in which the sub had been pulled together and length. The more time the author had spent on it the shorter and more focused the sub.

–   Structure was very important. Not only the way in which the sub was presented but the use of highlighting, bullet points etc. made a big difference in the clarity of the message.

–   Meeting briefs, which are an important focus for SoS, were often insufficiently holistic and did not always show a full understanding of the full range of issues that either the Minister or the interlocutor might want to discuss.

–   A number of subs, in particular the meeting briefs, lacked sufficient depth on key issues. Some seemed very narrowly focused.

–   A positive tone led to a better more confident brief. A defensive tone often left more questions unanswered than answered.

If you would like to know more about the work of this Group or the wider work that the BIS Policy Profession is undertaking to drive up standards please contact Mike Purdom at mike.purdom@bis.gsi.gov.uk

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Chocolate, wine and L & D – it doesn’t get much better than that.

3. Across the Country…And Beyond

Whitehall and Industry Group

Technical Visit to Unipart
Thursday 31 March
Free to Members. Apply Now

Breakfast Briefing: Infrastructure investment and productivity – Philip Graham, Chief Executive, National Infrastructure Commission
Tuesday 5 April
Free to Members. Apply Now

Breakfast Briefing: Skills and apprenticeships – David Hill, Director of Apprenticeships, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills / Department for Education
Wednesday 15 June
Free to Members. Apply Now

Non-Exec and Charity Trustee Roles
Click here for current opportunities.

EU Skills

Interested in improving your understanding of the EU institutions and processes? Visit the EU Skills and Knowledge Civil Service Learning hub, where you can find:

  • The EU Skills and Knowledge Framework and Self-Assessment to identify areas for development
  • Links to e-learning modules so you can get started today
  • Online guidance on a range of day-to-day challenges, such as ‘EU Law in Government’ and ‘A Practical Guide to EU Negotiations’.
  • Booking links to departmental seminars taking place across Government
  • Information on secondments to the European institutions
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Rachel wishing she’d been able to go to such fantastic awaydays before she became a DG.

Civil Service Learning

CSL is changing its provider so many courses are currently unavailable.  However details of transitional training opportunities are available here.

London School of Economics – What was the Impact of the Coalition Government on Social Policy Outcomes and Welfare Governance?

Wednesday 27 April 

This event will launch two new complementary publications analysing UK social policy from 2010 to 2015. The authors will introduce: Social Policy in a Cold Climate: policies and their consequences since the crisis and The Coalition Government and Social Policy: restructuring the welfare state.

Time: 3-6pm
Venue: Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Speakers: Professor Hugh Bochel, Professor Sir John Hills, Professor Ruth Lupton, Professor Martin Powell, Dr Polly Vizard

For further information: email case@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6562.

London School of Economics: This House Believes We Should Leave the European Union

Wednesday 27 April

On June 23, voters in the will make a decision regarding their willingness to share or pool some of the UK’s sovereignty with the twenty-seven other member states of the European Union. This special event, held as part of the Forum’s 20th anniversary, will consider a motion to change the status quo. We will have two teams of speakers, one speaking for the proposition (Gerard Lyons and Ben Cobley), the other against (Hugo Dixon and Katrin Flikschuh).

Time: 6.30-8pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Ben Cobley, Hugo Dixon, Katrin Flikschuh, Dr Gerard Lyons

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries see LSE Events FAQ or contact us at events@lse.ac.uk or 0207 955 6043.

Ministers Reflect

The Institute for Government have just launched a great new resource in Ministers Reflect. It’s a unique online archive that records – in former ministers’ own words – what it takes to be an effective government minister, the challenges they face, and what more officials can/could have done to support them.

Four Principles of Good Learning

John Stafford of Civil Service Learning blogs on the: Four principles of good learning

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Cake for a good cause.

4. News and Reviews

The L & D Awayday – Thursday 17 March (Douglas Leckie)

Baroness Williams spoke about her career to date, notably her experience as the only woman among a group of local authority councillors. Her advice to her female colleagues – “be yourself, don’t try to be a man”! She also shared her reflections on what it is that has given Greater Manchester something of an edge in terms of leading the devolution agenda, pointing to the length of time over which pan-regional relationships have been built up in the area, and also highlighting the far-sightedness of Richard Leese and Howard Bernstein who have stuck to the same broad vision over many years and not allowed themselves to be distracted by more minor and short-term concerns.

Martin Donnelly gave us some tips on career development, highlighting the importance of reflecting upon the “informal” reputation we build up and the image we project through our everyday behaviours and actions. He also spoke about the importance of truly listening. Martin identified the tendency many of us have to start thinking about how we are going to respond while the other person is still talking, and encouraged us to listen more intently to our colleagues and to wait until they have finished before thinking about our reply.

Simon Ridley and Rachel Sandby-Thomas described their careers to date. In both cases it was striking that their paths to becoming DGs were more about following their policy and professional interests and doing the next interesting job rather than any grand career master plan.

Greg Clark spoke warmly about his now long-standing relationship with our unit, commending the innovative and can-do approach we have come to embody, and praising many individuals with whom he has worked closely over the years. His main message was the importance of preserving the bottom-up, bespoke approach to devolution which has become its hallmark under his leadership. Systematisation and rigid frameworks are to be avoided at all costs. And permission was granted to continue our work as the “insurgents of Whitehall”, going boldly where civil servants have historically feared to go and driving ambitious change through a system which does not universally embrace it, but which has the potential to transform government works and to make a lasting difference to the health of our economy.

Gareth Bradford shared some of the lessons he learned during two and a half years in No 10 as the PM’s housing advisor. To highlight just one, Gareth challenged us not to limit ourselves to the particular policy area which we happen to be working on at any time, but to model the No 10 culture whereby all staff are encouraged to contribute across the whole policy landscape. If something interests you and you’ve got something to say about it, don’t hold back!

Tom Walker wrapped up the day with some (quite literal) cheerleading: “Delivery is …” echoed around the room as it has never done before. He also launched the CLoG Career Charter, details of which are in section 1 of this edition of the blog, and challenged the whole team to embrace its threefold focus, namely first on us as individuals to own our own learning and career development, second on line managers to provide targeted and tailored support, and third on the Leadership Team to model and drive a culture whereby everyone feels they can fulfil their potential and achieve to the very best of their abilities.

Beyond the main stage there was plenty of other activity around the edges, with information stalls on everything from the HCA to HMT, cakes galore (the £1,000 fundraising target for Mind reached), prizes for lots of people if not quite for all, and a specially extended lunch break which seems to have been widely appreciated. Congratulations and thanks to all involved in the organisation is, and now on to the next one. The question is – can it possibly be even better next time?

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PowerPoint says it all.

The Institue for Fiscal Studies Green Budget Launch – Monday 8 February (Jag Athwal)

Andy Paterson, Sean Mattson and I went to the annual IFS Green Budget launch on Monday 8 February. This is the IFS’s annual jaunt through the economic conditions and challenges facing the chancellor ahead of the actual budget. The exec summary of the report (http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/8129) is worth reading, but some headline messages that we took away are  as follows.

  • The UK grew at 2.2% last year which was disappointing given the boost provided by falling oil prices. In 2016, they expect similar growth of 2.2%. 80% of growth was coming from household consumption, and this is expected to continue to be the main driver of growth, though weaker than in last year. They expect business investment to pick up the slack in a favourable environment, provided risks of Brexit do not materialise. However, significant tightening of fiscal policy and problems in the international environment will continue to hold growth back over the medium term, even though UK exporters’ focus on other advanced economies/inability to penetrate emerging markets will offer some insulation from problems in these economies. They believe that these factors will result in a relatively substantial output gap continuing until 2020, which is contrary to the OBR view.
  • High levels of migration have boosted the labour force, and contributed to significant jobs growth in recent years. Net migration reached 336,000 in the year to June 2015. This is more than double the net migration number in June 2012. This is expected to continue.
  • The IFS majored on the fact that the Chancellor is facing some risks which are partly of his own making, as a result of his fiscal mandate. This requires the government to run a surplus every year from 2019–20 “in normal times”. This is radically different from the UK’s previous fiscal rules and, like most big economies, the UK has only rarely run a surplus – just 8 times in the last 60 years. He is currently forecasting a £10bn surplus by 2020, but this is subject to a great many assumptions around growth, stamp duty, oil revenues and the success of measures to reduce spending on public services (excepting health) to their lowest levels since 1948.
  • The IFS indicated that there was probably no need for a surplus if the aim is to bring down the debt ratio. A balanced budget, or even a smallish deficit, will do that over time so long as the economy keeps growing, and they pointed out Mr Osborne could be forced into additional spending cuts or tax rises if economic and fiscal forecasts again turn out unfavourably.
  • The fiscal mandate also rules out borrowing to invest even where low interest rates mean such investment would be economically beneficial. The ICAEW argued that the fiscal rules should be adjusted to allow borrowing for infrastructure investment where it can be demonstrated that the investment will provide a financial return to government in the form of revenues – from additional taxes or charges – that more than offset the cost of the investment.
  • As last year, the ICAEW provided a detailed analysis of Whole of Government Accounts (WGA), which illustrates the importance of taking a wider view of government finances than the traditional National Accounts – particularly to include pension liabilities and the public asset base. On a WGA measure, the accounting deficit fell by just 20% between 2009–10 and 2013–14 compared with a fall of 35% in the traditional National Accounts measure.
  • In relation to the above points, the ICAEW’s view is that government decision-making needs to change to protect and grow public assets through infrastructure investment. Current accounting measures and the desire to reach a surplus on a relatively narrow measure of government borrowing will favour public–private finance partnerships over simply borrowing to invest. Favourable treatment of these arrangements in the National Accounts is no good reason to favour funding infrastructure spending in that way. PFI and PF2 should be brought on balance sheet to avoid decisions being driven by accounting rules.
  • The Green Budget also contains chapters on universal credit and tackling tax avoidance by multinational companies.
  • “I wanted to find out more about tax avoidance so I Googled it!”… (see what he did there?!) An interesting point to note on the issue of tax avoidance, coming off the back of significantly piqued public interest – with the likes of Amazon, Google and Starbucks all making headlines recently; it’s no silver bullet! The IFS view is that there may not be significant net revenue gains from clamping down on multinational tax avoidance in the UK. It needs a multinational solution which would resolve complex underlying issues and much will depend on the specific nature of the reforms. One issue that was particularly interesting was around the issue of offsetting debt interest payments against profits – the UK is quite generous with this, which encourages businesses to locate their debt here to offset profits.
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More cake for a good cause…and a particular favourite.

Visit to Liverpool City Region – Thursday 18 February (Jag Athwal)

On this visit Andy Paterson, Charlotte Fleetwood, Sam Evans and I met various stakeholders across the Liverpool City Region LEP, where we discussed a range of issues from the State of Liverpool City Region report to some specific issues around the LEPs Enterprise Zone.

Professor Michael Parkinson (Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice)

Professor Parkinson is Adviser to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.  Our main motivation for meeting him was to discuss his latest report on the ‘State of Liverpool City Region: Making the Most of Devolution’ (2016), a report which highlights both the progress Liverpool has made economically and the scale of the challenges it continues to face. In particular highlighting the wealth, jobs, skills and productivity gaps and the high-levels of long-term sickness.

The report is fascinating (a signed copy is available in our library!) and the suggested responses to Liverpool’s challenges fit well will the policy pillars highlighted in our own strategy work. Namely, Liverpool City Region leaders will need to help create, attract and retain better jobs; raise skill levels and retain skilled people; increase connectivity; encourage more innovation; improve place quality and in particular address the problems faced by people and places excluded from the economic success it has had.

In addition we also discussed some work Michael currently has underway which aims to review the city mayor’s achievements in the city region over the last four years – this is due to be published ahead of the city mayoral election in May.

There were initially low expectations of the Mayoral office, given the lack of executive power that went with the role. This report is expected to say that the mayor has achieved his quantitative targets, and focus on the ‘softer’ values of the mayoral office (increasing visibility, profile raising nationally and internationally, increase collaborative working etc.) and discuss implications for the future, in view of the metro-mayor that the city region will soon have.

There was lots of discussion about the ‘messy’ collection of partnerships and strategies that exist in the area (LEP, local authorities, the Mayoral office, and now a metro-mayor and a combined authority), and some of the deep cultural and political divides at play in the area. This is of course not unique to LCR – Michael pointed out that once upon time relationships in Bristol weren’t great either – and that they’re getting past the ‘shenanigans’, with a degree of will for the new mayoral office to be a success story. But 2017 will be an opportunity to move away from these, by clearly defining how the area will be governed. It will be important to seize this opportunity to clarify the roles of the different players.

Having made progress on developing the political relationships, Michael’s view was that it will be imperative to get good people in to make the whole process a success. At the moment there isn’t the capacity and this needs to change.

On some of the drivers behind Liverpool’s progress in improving its relative performance, Michael pointed to three key factors: European money, City Challenge and Capital of Culture and Liverpool ONE. €2 billion of European money lies behind most of the major projects that have taken place across the region in the past decade and a half. The City Challenge has focussed on the city’s assets and developing a ring around the city centre, including the knowledge quarter. Capital of Culture, and the development of Liverpool ONE, a retail development linking the city centre to the redeveloped docks was imperative for developing greater national and international recognition for the city’s cultural offer.

Overall there was a sense from Michael that ‘place matters’, and the role of place-making has been a key feature for Liverpool in improving its economic standing, notwithstanding the fact the city region still contains some of the country’s most economically and socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Liverpool Visit
Local Growthing in Liverpool

Graham Russell (Partner Director, AMION Consulting)

AMION Consulting is an economic and financial advisory business providing independent strategic advice to its clients, in order to help achieve economic growth. Graham is a qualified economist and leads AMION’s Economic and Evaluation services. Graham specialises in economic analyses, economic impact assessments, feasibility and funding project appraisals and policy evaluation and development. He has substantial experience in professional advisory services and has contributed to official Government economic guidance, and has also led various major national research studies and evaluations. Graham has provided national expert advice to government on regions, cities and neighbourhoods.

The first part of our discussion with Graham focussed on his view of DCLG’s proposed new appraisal framework. We focussed on Graham’s concerns that an undue reliance on the land value uplift approach will not fully capture the benefits of regeneration, including external and distributional benefits that were the main aims of policy. As a result, there was a risk that it would tip the distributional pattern of expenditure further towards London and the South East where the scope of land value uplift is higher.

Andy made clear we were alive to the various (thorny) appraisal issues inherent in the DCLG refresh of the guidance, and that the guide will continue to be developed even after publication. Graham was encouraged to contribute his thoughts formally, particularly on the issue of how to interpret and quantify externalities. Andy suggested it might even be worth AMION collaborating with other academic institutions to submit their collective views on the guide once published, as they did for the NAO’s evaluation report.

Graham also discussed his work with local partners, and highlighted some interesting and novel financial instruments that are being explored within the area, including a new TIF model in the EZ supported by future rate retention, and housing instruments combining public land, housing association funding and prudential borrowing which Gareth Bradford’s team would find of particular interest.

Heather Jago (Programme Manager, Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone, Liverpool City Region LEP)

Our final meeting of the day got under the skin of the some of the issues of the Mersey Waters EZ which straddles the Mersey estuary, with Liverpool Waters on one side and Wirral Waters on the other.

In terms of land area, this is the largest EZ covering some 125 hectares. The aim is for the EZ to foster transformational developments on both sides of the estuary, most of which consists of redundant docklands.

There are significant challenges with the site, which has had no investment for 50+ years. There is a focus on site remediation and decontamination. There is a single landowner (Peel) so there is no public sector land involved. This creates (state aid) issues of putting public money into the site and currently there is not sufficient value in the site to justify private development. i.e. the market is not viable at the moment.

There has been some progress to get the site moving, including early designs for the site being developed and a green light for planning, the (significant) challenge is to attract the market. One of the proposed solutions is to create an investment fund based on projected future revenues, against which the council can borrow to put in some upfront investment. This approach has recently been approved by Wirral council and it is hoped it will help fund the viability gaps in projects there. Indeed the strategic priority for the EZ over the next 5 years is to access funding opportunities to accelerate development.

Sectorally there is focus on attracting activity linked to the port – rather than freight and logistics specifically, much of which currently comes into Southampton and has to be driven across the country. As such there is a focus on promoting Liverpool’s accessibility to market, using the proximity to the new deepwater terminal at Liverpool2 as a factor to attract investment.

5. Update from the CLoG L & D Google Community Forum

We’ve got 33 people signed up now as members of this community forum, and approximately 10 posts on the community page sharing a range of thoughts and questions about L & D from Natasha Barras flagging an excellent documentary about the Skye Bridge PFI to Toni Wooton asking for information about project/programme management training (see section 2 of the blog above Toni!).

If you haven’t checked out this resource yet, or if you have but haven’t posted anything yet, do go ahead and give it a go.  All you need is a Google account which you can set up in 1 minute if you don’t have one already (if you have a gmail account then you do already have a Google account).  If you need me to resend you the invitation to join just let me know (douglas.leckie@bis.gsi.gov.uk) and I will do so ASAP.

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Sir Humphrey Appleby: Bernard, if the right people don’t have power, do you know what happens? The wrong people get it: politicians, councillors, ordinary voters!

Bernard Woolley: But aren’t they supposed to, in a democracy?

Sir Humphrey: This is a British democracy, Bernard!