My last week before a bit of time off. They’re always odd weeks as (I assume everyone does this) I try to cram in a load of odds and ends into my evenings to get stuff ‘done’. Of course, it’s never done, but it doesn’t half fill up a week.

Community of practice

We had the second proper community of practice on place-based systemic change.

In January we looked at the role of individuals in place-based work with the principle that in anything systemic you need to be thinking about yourself and what you bring to the work. This month we focussed on teams. I was delighted that Graeme Duncan from Right to Succeed and Claire Reindorp from Peabody were able to talk to us about their work and their teams.

What was interesting for me was the emphasis not only on the skills needed to do the work but also how to work with the other teams in a larger organisation who are not doing systemic work. As is always the case, there are layers to every question you can ask, and different directions you can take the question to be explored. We’re going to take some time to unpick the notes from the session, and will be sharing through the usual channels.

Louise Kavanagh

Good Governance

I was invited to a roundtable about governance in the public sector, ethics, and the pandemic by the Good Governance Institute. I was feeling a little out of my depth given the focus on national bodies, and the impressive CVs of the panel, but at one point things swung round to the local and I was able to jump in to a point.

I have been of the view for a few years, that some of the most interesting organisations – often created as a response to austerity- are weird blends of business models, partnerships or collaborations. What I was struck by during the pandemic’s early months is that if you were part of a partnership that contained a large institution, then they reverted to incredibly hierarchical decision making structures. It’s understandable, but it risked breaking more nascent partnerships. Lots of new ventures, ideas and collaborations have been kicked off since the pandemic. It will be interesting to see if they hold.

Reading, listening and watching

Not a lot this week. The new Line of Duty feels very much the same as the other ones.

I am trying to run a half marathon each month this year. My watch messed up February (which means that Strava will suggest it didn’t happen), but I greatly enjoyed doing it this month. One of the biggest positive benefits of working from home for a year for me has been that I have run a lot more.

See you in a couple of weeks.

john-hitchin-ceo