We’re proud to announce today that Lesley Seary joins the FutureGov board as Non-Executive Director.
My career has been centred in the world of local government working with residents, service users and partners to try to combat inequalities and improve services.
In a career of over 30 years, I’ve worked in a number of London boroughs and led a range of services, including regeneration, planning, housing, waste and recycling services, housing benefits and customer services. Most recently I was Chief Executive at Islington council for eight years.
Islington is a great place — and a borough of sharp contrasts, with high levels of deprivation and child poverty. This is why there is such a strong ethos around fairness and working to combat inequalities.
I’m really proud of the work we did with residents and partners to address serious youth violence. Working collaboratively with the police, we established an integrated gangs team, became one of the first boroughs in London to pay the London living wage and worked with businesses to secure mentoring, apprenticeships and job opportunities for residents. Particularly for young people furthest from the job market.
I really enjoy working across partnerships with residents, service users, staff and partners to design and transform services and the way we do things. An example I love is the work with council staff and health partners to think about how we can better integrate health, social care, housing, schools and the voluntary sector. Using the eyes and ears of the community, and all our various staff on the ground, to together spot issues at an early stage so that we can intervene earlier and prevent things from escalating.
This interest in integration between health and social care led me to become a non-executive director at the hospital trust where I live in east London. It’s fascinating and a great learning experience to see the challenges faced by two extremely busy hospitals where demand continues to grow.
At the trust, I chair the People and Culture Committee, which I’m really pleased about. I’ve always believed that culture change is a vital part of any change. And people are the greatest resource an organisation has. In Islington, I worked closely with staff at all levels of the council to develop a clear vision and values, leading managers to engage and empower staff and ensure that the vision and values of the organisation were woven through everything we did and the way we did it.
I also believe strongly in supporting and developing people. As a Chief Executive, I chaired the London Chief Executives Committee and worked with colleagues to set up the London Leadership Programme — a programme that aims to develop senior staff in local government and enable them to become the collaborative, systems-leaders of the future. I continue to coach and mentor leaders in the public sector — which is hugely rewarding.
I’m really delighted to be joining FutureGov at such an exciting time in their life. I’ve known FutureGov from its very early days and it’s incredible to see how far the company has come in such a short time.
What hasn’t changed though is the commitment and enthusiasm of Dom and the team — it’s one of the big reasons I’m attracted to working with FutureGov. Their culture and approach to designing change, with how we do things being as important as what we do, has long been an approach I’ve championed.
I hope that I can use my experience working in the public sector over many years, leading change and building strong partnerships across sectors to support FutureGov as it continues to develop and grow.
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This post was written by Lesley Seary.