Strategic planning that works—evidence from the European public sector

Just over twenty years ago when I was observing experiments in the use of strategic planning and community planning in English local government I often wondered if it would prove to be a temporary management fad. There were at the time efforts by councils like Bradford Council to carry out planning with partners from all sectors. I saw councils like Ipswich Council trying to do community strategic planning and trying to engage and involve local people. There was leadership from councillors and officers at the tops of councils. I was really impressed at the time with their drive to innovate and serve the public better and often to use strategic planning as a tool to do this. But would enthusiasm for it last ten years?

A local councillor’s reflection on the coronavirus crisis

I want to share something very important with you: for me the coronavirus crisis has been the most difficult period I have experienced as an elected member. I have lost loved ones, felt the distress in local communities and experienced the dislocation in people’s lives as children no longer attend school, workplaces shut and voluntary organisations suspend many of their vital services. So, this is a personal view and reflection on the crisis to date.

The ‘Clap for Carers’ confusion (plus the badge) said it all

I admit it: I cheat. For years I’ve chatted and written about UK local government, for predominantly local government audiences and readerships, and I’m selective in the illustrative material I deploy. If there are numbers and examples that could present local government in a more or less favourable light, I’ll go first for the more favourable. I might mention that other researched statistics are available, but I’m not, say, a Government minister and, yes, I play to the crowd.

In light of covid-19, are school exams old news?

On 18th March,  UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all schools would close and that summer GCSE and A Levels would not be sat. This has caused concern and anxiety for pupils, parents and teachers. However, is it actually an opportunity to rethink how we assess at these key points? Could we use this year as a pilot on whether exams could be replaced with school internal assessments and may that lead to more valid judgements and reduced stress?

Weber and the Politics of the Covid-19 Crisis

Politics is about who gets what, when and how, as Harold Lasswell famously declared in 1936. Also, or especially in a time of crisis. Our cleaner, for instance, gets little to none now. In Weber’s spirit, therefore, we need to put public values and power at the heart of our responses to the Covid-19 crisis.