Reaping the rewards of new ways of working
The LGC Future Leaders Network, in association with BT, aims to support local government’s up and coming talent. Each of our seven regional groups has now met. Here, Future Leader Sarah McBride shares her reflections from the Wales and south-west meeting.
We were warmly greeted at Cheltenham BC’s offices by chief executive Andrew North, who was hosting the morning.
Andrew talked with great enthusiasm about partnership working with other councils and public services and how collaboration had brought about better value services.
I was particularly interested to hear Andrew describing the council’s approach to working towards shared priority outcomes for local people and how the council tested everything it was doing against these outcomes.
I reflected on the challenges that this poses in large unitary councils like Cornwall, where increasing demand on statutory adult social care services for a relatively small proportion of people is balanced against broader outcomes for the majority of the population.
The second speaker of the morning was Sue Smith, chief executive of Cherwell DC and South Northamptonshire DC.
I listened with great interest to Sue’s honest and humorous account of her career. I was struck by her approach to finding roles in organisations that played to her strengths. She described how councils look for different types of chief executives at different times and how finding a good fit is key.
Hearing from Andrew and Sue was the highlight of the session for me; their challenges, successes and practical advice were insightful and inspirational. The network could certainly look to build on this because I think there would be great value in forging relationships with more chief executives.
Jon Houlihan, a partner from executive recruitment agency Gatenby Sanderson, talked to us about what recruiters and councils are looking for. It was fascinating to compare this with the results of the LGC leadership survey in September 2011 with about 100 council chiefs and directors.
There seemed to be a recently increased focus on experience and skills to exploit the opportunities of partnership working and collaboration.
One particular area of discussion was that, when asked in 2011, 55% of leaders answered that the role of chief executive would become more important, 34% said there would be no change in importance, and only 11% replied that the role would be less important.
I found the morning extremely useful and I am looking forward to the next session. I think we all felt it could have been a day-long session with more opportunities to talk to each other and to talk individually to both Sue and Andrew.
I hope that we can build on this event and support each other in driving excellence in public service, taking pride in the role that local government plays in improving the lives of local people and the places in which we live.
Sarah McBride, head of service, commissioning, performance and improvement, Cornwall Council
The Wales and south-west network
The Future Leaders Network comprises seven regional groups across the country. The Wales and south-west network met in Cheltenham. It heard from LGC editor Emma Maier, Cheltenham BC’s chief executive Andrew North, Sue Smith, joint chief executive of South Northamptonshire Council and Cherwell DC, and Gatenby Sanderson’s Jon Houlihan. View the presentation slides at: LGCplus.com/5042570.article. The Wales and south-west group members are:
- Anne-Marie Bond, executive head commercial services, Torbay Council
- Mike Bowden, assistant director service development, Bath and North East Somerset Council
- Carl Brazier, strategic head (tenant services), Stroud DC
- Tracy Carter, service director, waste management services, Wiltshire Council
- Jonathan Griffiths, principal service manager, Newport City Council
- Sian Hayward, programme manager, Monmouthshire CC
- Frances Hughes, executive head of community safety, Torbay Council
- Cath Robinson, head of financial services, Cornwall Council
- Pam Marsden, assistant director, Plymouth City Council
- Sarah McBride, head of service, commissioning, performance and improvement Cornwall Council
- Andrew McCartney, interim programme director, Gloucestershire CC
- Gareth Phillips, principal communications officer, Torfaen CBC
- Mark Pullin, trading standards and licensing manager, South Gloucestershire Council
- Robert Sainsbury, head of integrated services (social care and health), Newport City Council
- Alan Smith, head of business planning and performance, Denbighshire CC
- John Thomas, IT operations manager, Flintshire CC