It’s a 3 ring circus but there’s some good in there #localgovcamp

If ever there was an example of local government being central governments poorer cousin, yesterday was it. This is going to be a quick post – the analytical stuff will come later (I will not be reading anyone else’s content in the meantime, I’ll be riding my bike up and down steep hills, being chuffed to bits at some friends exhibition at an art gallery and then doing some research for other things).

But some initial thoughts which I expect to be challenged on and will be expanding on:

Local government employs considerably more people, in total, than central. I’m a bit bored of central snobbery. You do a good and important job in difficult political climates. So do we.

ICT is not the cause of our dismay. You can work around barriers.

Do not talk to me about open data and transparency and then proceed to explain you will be holding closed discussions on an invite only basis.

Open data: too many cooks spoil the broth.

Where the hell has the Public Sector Transparency Board disappeared to and why does a rep never come to these events?

Don’t talk to me like a school child.

I want to follow leaders not managers.

Agile – I am talking and have been talking about the dictionary definition not the technical implementation. Harry Harrold is right, we are not machines and I did not for a second suggest we were. However, I did suggest we can borrow some theories and strategies from the iterations, stand ups and scrums. I still believe this is appropriate and thanks to serendipity and nothing to do with me, we now implement some of these ideas in our team. The team don’t know they do, but that doesn’t matter as far as I am concerned.

So many battles have been fought and won that I’d not even clocked. I am lucky. I am trying, in my own stupid way to spread that and am grateful the few people I tried to explain that to understand and didn’t roll their eyes. Cheers chaps.

Don’t roll your eyes or smirk at me. I am not blind and I might look simple but I assure you, I am not.

Consultation, policy, visualisation. Not sexy but led to the most difficult session of the day for me.

No one might think performance indicators are sexy, and ‘clueless’ I might well be and ‘clueless’ those asking for performance indicators for social media might well be but it seems I am not alone and we are not alone in needing a hand in measuring these outcomes and objectives. Time costs money and I/we/they are being asked to justify that. I do not think that is so hard to understand at the moment.

No one asked about #lgovsm. I am most pleased about this – I would be, because, well, it justifies my decision that the time and effort I was putting into it invisibly was in no way required.

The people I thought were scary are not. The people I thought were good are not. The people who think they are good? Some are, and some are not. But I have not come across more genuine desire to grapple with difficult things, more honesty on difficult subjects and more people prepared to actually disagree vocally with people instead of rolling eyes in quite some time.

I also discovered something. It is most wonderful position to be in, to be inside something and yet to also be observing, to be listening and contributing and fighting and discussing and disagreeing and affirming whilst also, constantly, in the back of your mind, thinking ‘these are the people of the future and which side will win, the ones who only want to make money and be famous or the ones who want to do that but want to change the world as well’.

I am not management material. Others, however, most definitely are. It’s a pleasure and an honour to sit and listen as people deconstruct complexity, wrestle with morality and expound frustratedly.

We got some issues, kids. We can either ignore them, or we can talk about them. Guess which camp I’m in.

Thank you to Dave Briggs, Si Whitehouse and Sammy Williams.

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