How many public servants does it take to organise Christmas?


Catherine Mangan

As 2016 draws to an end, INLOGOV would like wish ‘Happy Christmas’ to all the inspirational public servants we have met and worked with over the past year.   The work of INLOGOV brings us into contact with a range of people dedicated to improving the lives of their citizens.  These include the graduate trainees who have just joined local government; our part time Masters students, juggling full time, demanding jobs with gaining a qualification that will stand them in good stead for their future careers; senior leaders who are working across organisations to develop innovative solutions to our most challenging ‘wicked issues’, and front line staff who continue to support residents in a variety of innovative and thoughtful ways, in spite of budget cuts.

This year I’ve been on the road a lot, talking to people about the 21st century public servant (and councillor) research.   Reflecting on these conversations about how public servants need to be different in future, it strikes me that the one factor that the public servants we work with have in common is determination.   Determination to gain a qualification, to make a difference, to gain new skills and develop new roles, with the end outcome to do the best for the people that live in their areas and need support from public services.

I’ve been particularly inspired by the way in which organisations have taken the 21st century public servant research and (in the words of an X factor judge) ‘made it their own’.   In an attempt to travel the length and breadth of the country I’ve worked with organisations from Oldham to Cornwall, and from Suffolk to Cardiff.   All have engaged with the challenge of creating a future workforce that will develop and deliver improved outcomes for residents.

To end the year on a festive, light hearted note I’d like to share the work that North East Lincolnshire council have been doing with the 21st century public servant concepts:

A 21st Century Public Servant Christmas

The System Architect has made sure the Christmas tree and decorations are all co-ordinated. The Resource Weaver has found all the gifts and stocked the Christmas larder. The Broker has worked out a suitable seating plan for the Christmas dinner. The Networker is in charge of the party games that get everyone involved. The Storyteller has written a ghost story to tell on Christmas Eve. The Commissioner is working towards the outcome of a happy Christmas for all. The Navigator is planning their new year’s resolutions and the Municipal Entrepreneur is thinking of ways to make next Christmas even more exciting!!

From all at INLOGOV – we wish you all a restful break, and a happy new year.

Portrait of OPM staff member

Catherine Mangan  is a Senior Fellow in INLOGOV and the Director of the Public Services Academy.  She has a particular research interest in delivering change within the public sector and her areas of interest include the integration of health and social care and developing the future workforce and leadership of public services.

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