With Total Place rightly gaining ground, and whatever the incoming government’s stance, there will be considerable change in the local government framework. In the light of this and events and rhetoric leading up to the elections, there is a pressing need for more thought about the lead employee role, whatever it is called. This has been precipitated by a wide range of factors, extending from the need to sort out the public purse following the banks bail out, to Total Place, from questions about pay and reward to thoughts about a power of general competence, from the potential for local choice in deciding the structure of Councils to the possibility of a more hands-on staffing role for Elected Mayors.
Many of these derive from thought on public participation and responsibility in the development and provision of services, which in itself provides additional fuel for change. Depending on locality, these questions will have created various kinds of local momentum which means there will be significant change in almost every council, requiring leadership from the top team in dialogue with members, the public and other employees. Such questions are relevant even if there are developments which lead to political rather than apolitical public servants.
The above builds on my recent article in Municipal Journal and is the starting point of a further short unpublished essay Public servants II: This time it’s personal. I will be including these together with other writing on a Resources page of this blog in the near future, once relevant permissions have been secured.