Follow your leader?

September 9, 2009

Or perhaps your leader needs to follow you?

In a short (36 pages) and pithy report entitled “Whole systems go!”, Professors John Bennington and Jean Hartley examine public leadership in the round on behalf of the Sunningdale Institute.

What has this to do with e-government or metrics? Well, John Benington proposed a model for the Foundation for Information Technology in Local Government (FITLOG) some ten years ago that I employed in a dissertation and journal article – it concerned ‘mobilising the bureaucracy’ and I thought it was great.

Now the new report is still trying to wake up the bureaucracy.

For example, they pick up on ‘public value’ and it appears that John Benington has something about to go to press with Mark Moore about it: 
“Public value means what is added to the public sphere and this may be social or economic, or it may be political, environmental or even more broadly about quality of the life.”…”In addition, a public value perspective requires examining the impact of public services on ‘customers’ and users but also the impact on them as citizens.”

Similarly, in terms of targets, they expect: “a wider view of organisational performance than imposed (or self-imposed) inputs or activity targets, but rather to think about the values and purposes to which the talents of Public Sector managers and leaders are being put.” 

Finally they conclude:  “This suggests that generic leadership and management theory may not be universally applied, but rather that there are some issues which require consideration of context and circumstance.” (Christensen et al – Christensen T, Laegreid P, Roness P and Røvik K (2007) Organisation Theory for the Public Sector London: Routledge.

If that wasn’t enough to link with the blogger, Sunningdale is the home of the CIO Council and the Local CIO Council, the latter of which includes the blogger.

Listening to the front line

July 15, 2009

If you don’t look at the Cabinet Office web site you might have missed the launch of a new report ‘Listening to the front line’, which has appeared in response to another report ‘Engagement & Aspiration’, from the Sunningdale Institute.

The essence is that the higher echelons of the Civil Service need to experience the work along with listening to those dealing with citizens. This is not a bad ideal, but what about listening to the citizens themselves, at the same time? Their view may be somewhat in contrast to the person the other side of the wire-mesh or glass panel, or the desk firmly screwed to the floor.

It’s a good start anyway…

PS – If anybody is wondering who the Sunningdale Institute are, I can only presume its a group from the National School of Government which is based a lengthy walk from the small Berkshire town of Sunningdale. It’s a lovely spot, rural and well forested.


If you are interested and, preferably, in UK local government please complete the survey, it doesn’t take long at all. I’ll keep feeding back through these pages, which are also covered by and PSF.