21st January 2014
As regular readers of our blog will know we have recently embarked on a small mini-series of posts about the relationship between local and central government and how they can be improved.
This week we wanted to talk about learning and development and how central/local work shadowing could be used as a realistic alternative to conferences or expensive training courses. Recently, the Chief Executive in my authority organised an opportunity for members of staff to shadow their equivalents in some private sector organisations that provide services to our council. It was an opportunity to understand the procurement process from the other side of the fence but also to understand how the service delivery differed in the private sector versus the way we did it.
I genuinely felt, and continue to feel, that the insight we would came from that experience would far outweigh any benefits that could be derived from training courses or equivalent learning and development activities.
Which leads me to today’s post; why couldn’t that model of development also work for central and local government? I know that central government has started to ‘get’ this. Recently, we had some Department of Health civil servants come and work alongside us in local government for two weeks. I think they worked in social care policy and therefore frontline social care experience, or at least understanding how it works in local government, was and is crucial to their work.
Surely, this applies across the board.
So why doesn’t it happen? I think there are two reasons: firstly the narrow way that learning and development is viewed in some local authorities and secondly the lack of openness between our two sectors.