20th October 2017

The IfG’s Dr Emily Andrews is quoted in Public Finance on the latest Performance Tracker. 

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Original source – The Institute for Government

The Government faces the real prospect of defeat on EU Withdrawal Bill amendments

After its second reading on 11 September, the Commons expected to begin line-by-line scrutiny of the EU Withdrawal Bill in early October. But that was before MPs tabled more than 300 amendments and proposed nearly 60 new clauses – some of which have the support of several Conservative MPs.  

This leaves the Government facing the very real prospect of defeat, despite its deal with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Having failed to engage Parliament in any meaningful way before the bill was introduced, the Government is now forced to negotiate behind the scenes. Hence the delay.

The Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, argues that the gap between second reading and committee stage is not unusual – and indeed there are numerous bills that provide a precedent to support her argument. However, none of those bills needed to be passed within the two-year time pressure set under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

The Government itself says it will need to enact at least eight other Brexit-related bills and around 1,000 pieces of secondary legislation before ‘exit day’. Many of these bills will need to be passed using powers created in the EU Withdrawal Bill.

Parliamentary time is limited, however long and late each House sits 

Even before this delay, parliamentarians expressed concern about the time available for scrutiny of Brexit-related proposals. The failure to make progress is more significant than Leadsom admits.

It now seems unlikely that the agreed eight days of committee-stage debate will begin before the Commons returns from its Autumn recess in the middle of November. These eight days had originally been expected to be scheduled over four sitting weeks, but may now need to be crammed into three.   

With two days scheduled for report stage and third reading and four days of debate on the Budget to fit in, it is now looking very tight for the bill to reach the Lords before Christmas, which appeared to be the Government’s original intention.

Depending on what amendments peers make to the bill – and looking at the reports of the Constitution and Delegated Powers Committees, they are not lacking in ideas – it is likely that the bill’s parliamentary journey will extend some way into 2018.

The Government’s decision to have a two-year session following the election means that it won’t be able to force compromises. Normally legislation falls if it is not completed by the end of a session. This enables Government to use time pressure to ensure that outstanding disputes (including issues subject to parliamentary ‘ping pong’ between the Houses) are resolved, clearing the way for a fresh legislative programme to be introduced in the next Queen’s Speech.  

The Government needs to engage better and earlier on the other bills it plans to introduce. There are already delays to some of the promised white papers, which could lead to scrutiny being squeezed and further problems down the line.

Europe is watching

The significance of this delay reaches beyond the legislative programme.

The 27 EU member states are watching developments in UK politics closely, including the passage of this crucial piece of legislation and the extent to which the Prime Minister’s room for manoeuvre is constrained by pro and anti-EU backbenchers. Problems in securing a necessary (but not intrinsically controversial) piece of legislation will be seen by the EU27 as putting a big question mark over the Government’s ability to deliver any deal.

The timetable for the EU Withdrawal Bill appears to have slowed. The problem is that the one certainty in the Brexit process – that the UK needs to be ready to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 – is rapidly approaching.

Original source – The Institute for Government

Whitehall Explained banner

The gender balance in the civil service is an indicator of how well it attracts and retains talent. If women are less likely to be hired or to progress to senior roles, the civil service is not making the most of its talent pool. Research by McKinsey suggests that diverse teams in the private sector perform better and make more effective decisions.

The 2017 Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy claims that ‘when people from diverse backgrounds are involved in creating the public services we all rely on, we get better services that work for everyone’, echoing a similar statement from civil service gender champion, and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Permanent Secretary Melanie Dawes.

Gender balance is not only a matter of basic fairness, but also helps government operate more effectively.

What is the current gender balance of the civil service?

gender balance civil service

In every year since 2001, more than half of all civil servants are women. This has increased from 46% in 1991, to 54% in 2017. However, women are still underrepresented in the senior civil service – 41% of senior civil servants are women – although this has increased from 17% in 1996. 

How does the gender balance vary by seniority in the civil service?

gender grade balance civil service

The proportion of women at all grades has increased since 2010. Yet the fundamental pattern – the higher up you go, the lower the proportion of women – remains. Across the civil service, women make up a higher percentage of junior grades than they do of more senior grades. Women outnumber men among Administrative Officers and Assistants (AO/AA), and Executive Officers (EO); they are still a minority among Senior and Higher Executive Officers (SEO/HEO), Grades 6 and 7, and the Senior Civil Service (SCS).

The percentage of women has been increasing in all these more senior grades (SEO/HEO, Grades 6 and 7, and the SCS), suggesting there is now a pipeline of talent to the top, but there is still a blockage to the very top, in terms of permanent secretaries in charge of Whitehall departments. 

women in charge whitehall departments

Only five departments are run by women:

  • Sue Owens at the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Claire Moriarty at the Department for Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • Bernadette Kelly at the Department for Transport (DfT)
  • Melanie Dawes at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
  • Antonia Romeo at the Department for International Trade (DIT).

This is more than in May 2010, but down from a peak of eight for half a week in March 2011. Unlike the senior civil service as a whole, there has been no upward trend in the percentage of permanent secretaries that are women.

While the permanent secretaries for the Scottish and Welsh Governments are both women – there has never been a female Cabinet Secretary.

Despite this, the UK appears to perform well globally. In the 2016-2017 Women Leaders Index, a study produced by the Global Government Forum and EY, the UK has the fourth highest percentage of women public sector leaders in the G20, only being outperformed by Canada, Australia and South Africa.

How does the gender balance vary by government department?

gender by department

Women are underrepresented in senior civil service positions at most government departments, reflecting the pattern across the civil service overall.

In only three departments do women make up half or more of the senior civil service – DCMS, the Department for Education (DFE) and DCLG – and just two departments, DCMS and DIT, have a higher percentage of women in the senior civil service than in the department as a whole. The departments with the lowest percentage of women in the senior civil service are the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) with 33.33%, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with 29.27%, and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) with 26.47%.

Despite having the highest proportion of female employees overall, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) underperforms in terms of female representation in the senior civil service, and has the largest gap between these two measures.

gender by department area civil service

For most departments, the gap between the gender balance in the senior civil service and the gender balance in the department overall has narrowed. This is particularly true of HMRC and DCLG, and in the case of DCMS the percentage of women in the SCS now exceeds the percentage in the whole department.

However, this is not true in all cases. The gap has in fact widened for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HMT. Some departments have made very little or no progress in increasing the percentage of senior civil positions held by women – for example, the DWP has made minimal progress and the HO figure has returned to its 2010 level in 2017. 

gender by grade and department civil service 2017

Most departments follow the pattern of the whole civil service when it comes to looking at each grade.

In every department, the percentage of women in the senior civil service is less than the percentage of women employed at the Administrative Assistant/Administrative Office grade – the lowest grade. Large departments with significant operational delivery functions, such as the DWP, HO and HMRC show this pattern most obviously. 

What has been done to improve the gender balance of the civil service?

As well as the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, published in October 2017 and setting out a number of steps that the civil service should take to become ‘the most inclusive employer in the UK’, initiatives include:  

  • The Talent Action Plan, which was first published in 2014 as a reaction to the need to ‘ensure that every talented, committed and hard-working person has the opportunity to rise to the top, whatever their background and whoever they are’.
  • Flexible working initiatives such as shared parental leave, flexible job design and e-automated tools which allow remote working. The ‘The Way We Work’ (TW3) initiative seeks to make civil service work ‘smarter’ and culminates in annual awards for the best performing departments.
  • Better networks, such as the Cross Government Women’s Network (CWGN), which allow women in the civil service to share best practice and support.
  • Explicit diversity targets, added to the objectives of all permanent secretaries.
  • The appointment of a civil service gender champion.

Although there has been significant progress towards a balanced civil service, more needs to be done in order to ensure that this balance extends to all grades and departments. Permanent Secretaries must be held accountable for achieving their diversity objectives in order to ensure a more balanced, fair and efficient civil service.

Update date: 
Friday, October 20, 2017 – 11:15

Original source – The Institute for Government

knobs.jpg

A few years ago I blogged a list of skills you needed if you wanted to work in communications. It is high time that has been refined.

by Dan Slee

The best day to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best day is today. It’s the same for you and your team.

The skills you need to communicate have been changing. A few years back I blogged a list of skills that every team needed. This started as a list of 40 skills. No more. This is now 55. But do you want to know the good news? I don’t think everyone needs all of them. But your team’s strength should be drawn from different areas.

I’ve divided this into nine areas. Everyone should get the strategic. Everyone needs the core skills.

Strategic

1.       Be clear about your organisation’s priorities. Its priorities are the comms team’s priorities.

2.       Report up weekly on . List what you are doing against the heading of your priorities. Otherwise you are just making noise.

3.       Be able to look finance in the eye. Attach a financial value to the results you are achieving. Fewer GP appointents because of that YouTube clip and receptionists who triage? Attach a value to that.

4.       Have a team of specialist generalists. If you expect everyone to know all the skills they – and you – will fail. Have them know core skills and excel at others.

5.       Be gate openers not gatekeepers. Some of your best comms work will be done by frontline staff equipped with a smartphone. This is fine. It is to be encouraged.

6.       To know what an income target is and to either plan for them or offer evaluated comms savings. A fifth of public sector teams have an income target. If you have one you’ll need entrepreneurial skills in the team rather than relying on ex-hacks to sell ad space. 

Core skills the team will need

7.       Know how to evaluate. If you are doing something, know why.  Count the tweets and press releases you send. But count what people did as a result of all that. That’s far more important.

8.       Know that social media isn’t about calls to action. Its being human and engaging 80 per cent of the time.

9.       Know all the channels and who uses them. There is no one size fits all channel that will reach everyone. You need to know the online and offline channels and their strengths and weaknesses.

10.   Be more human. Everyone’s job in comms is to carry a Field Marshall’s baton to see the big picture, wear a lab coat to know the data and have a plate of cake to speak human.    

11.   Always be learning. Always.

12.   Educate the client. Comms’ job is to help the organisation communicate better. Your job is to advise them how to do that by knowing backwards the complex and fractured media landscape. You are a professional. Give professional advice.

13.   Be a diplomat, be small ‘p’ and big ‘P’ politically aware. Know how to handle people and give advice.

14.   Speak truth to power. Know that you are able to give the right advice.

15.   To listen to the public. Don’t be afraid to reflect their views back to the organisation even when it is critical.

16.   To be able to tell stories. In different formats.

17.   To know media law. McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists is your friend.

18.   To know the value of internal comms. Engage for Success is a good starting point.

19.   To know how to write a comms plan. Like this one.

20.   To know how to interpret data. And know the right data to interpret.

21.   To know how to respond as an organisation in an emergency. Increasingly, the emergency is what tests a team. This will happen to you at a time you need it least.

22.   Look for the influencers who can influence networks. The blogger. The community leader. The campaigner.

23.   To be able to communicate to the head and the heart. And know the difference.

24.   To manage time. To know what meetings to make and those to break.

In person

25.   To be professional, warm and engaging.

26.   To present. To create a deck of slides and stand up and speak to an audience.

In words

27.   To understand jargon but to communicate in plain English.

28.   To write effective emails.

29.   To write effective email campaigns.

30.   To evaluate and improve email campaigns.

31.   To write a press release.

32.   To be able to write for the web.

33.   To create and run a survey.

In pictures

34.   To find copyright free images.

35.   To take and edit pictures.

36.   To record the permission of those who are photographed, update and maintain a model consent database.

37.   To select information and create an infographic.

38.   To know what branding is and why it is.

In video

39.   Know the optimum lengths of video per channel.

40.   Know how to plan, edit, film and add text and music to a video shot in-house.

41.   Know how to plan and commission and external video.

In print

42.   To know when a leaflet works and to liaise with designers.

43.   To know when a newsletter or magazine works and to liase with designers.

In data

44.   To know what data to look for and what data to count.

45.   To know what open data is.

On Social media

46.   Know the Paretto Principle. The 80-20 split is what works on social media. Make 80 per cent of your content social and engaging to earn the right 20 per cent of the time to make calls to action. People don’t want to be sold to on social media.

47.   Think of Facebook as a broad landscape rather than just your page. Most people who use your organisation aren’t following your page but they are using Facebook. But they are members of groups and pages. So go looking for them there.

48.   Make friends with Facebook group and page admin. They can help share content for you.

49.   Join Facebook groups and pages as yourself. By being a human being you can show that real human beings work for the organisation.

50.   To know what audience uses the main social media accounts.

51.   To create on each platform engaging content with words, text and video for them with the right tone for the right occasion. 

52.   To know how customer services works with social media.

53.   To respond using social media in an emergency.

54.   To know new platforms and be able to experiment with them.

55.   To be able to create and schedule content at the right time.

Dan Slee is co-creator of comms2point0.

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

 

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The best day to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best day is today. It’s the same for you and your team.

The skills you need to communicate have been changing. A few years back I blogged a list of skills that every team needed. This started as a list of 40 skills. No more. This is now 55. But do you want to know the good news? I don’t think everyone needs all of them. But your team’s strength should be drawn from different areas.

I’ve divided this into nine areas. Everyone should get the strategic. Everyone needs the core skills.

Strategic

  1. Be clear about your organisation’s priorities. Its priorities are the comms team’s priorities.
  2. Report up weekly on . List what you are doing against the heading of your priorities. Otherwise you are just making noise.
  3. Be able to look finance in the eye. Attach a financial value to the results you are achieving. Fewer GP appointents because of that YouTube clip and receptionists who triage? Attach a value to that.
  4. Have a team of specialist generalists. If you expect everyone to know all the skills they – and you – will fail. Have them know core skills and excel at others.
  5. Be gate openers not gatekeepers. Some of your best comms work will be done by frontline staff equipped with a smartphone. This is fine. It is to be encouraged.
  6. To know what an income target is and to either plan for them or offer evaluated comms savings. A fifth of public sector teams have an income target. If you have one you’ll need entrepreneurial skills in the team rather than relying on ex-hacks to sell ad space.

Core skills the team will need

  1. Know how to evaluate. If you are doing something, know why. Count the tweets and press releases you send. But count what people did as a result of all that. That’s far more important.
  2. Know that social media isn’t about calls to action. Its being human and engaging 80 per cent of the time.
  3. Know all the channels and who uses them. There is no one size fits all channel that will reach everyone. You need to know the online and offline channels and their strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Be more human. Everyone’s job in comms is to carry a Field Marshall’s baton to see the big picture, wear a lab coat to know the data and have a plate of cake to speak human.
  5. Always be learning.
  6. Educate the client. Comms’ job is to help the organisation communicate better. Your job is to advise them how to do that by knowing backwards the complex and fractured media landscape. You are a professional. Give professional advice.
  7. Be a diplomat, be small ‘p’ and big ‘P’ politically aware. Know how to handle people and give advice.
  8. Speak truth to power. Know that you are able to give the right advice.
  9. To listen to the public. Don’t be afraid to reflect their views back to the organisation even when it is critical.
  10. To be able to tell stories. In different formats.
  11. To know media law. McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists is your friend.
  12. To know the value of internal comms. Engage for Success is a good starting point.
  13. To know how to write a comms plan. Like this one.
  14. To know how to interpret data. And know the right data to interpret.
  15. To know how to respond as an organisation in an emergency. Increasingly, the emergency is what tests a team. This will happen to you at a time you need it least.
  16. Look for the influencers who can influence networks. The blogger. The community leader. The campaigner.
  17. To be able to communicate to the head and the heart. And know the difference.
  18. To manage time. To know what meetings to make and those to break.

In person

  1. To be professional, warm and engaging.
  2. To present. To create a deck of slides and stand up and speak to an audience.

In words

  1. To understand jargon but to communicate in plain English.
  2. To write effective emails.
  3. To write effective email campaigns.
  4. To evaluate and improve email campaigns.
  5. To write a press release.
  6. To be able to write for the web.
  7. To create and run a survey.

In pictures

  1. To find copyright free images.
  2. To take and edit
  3. To record the permission of those who are photographed, update and maintain a model consent database.
  4. To select information and create an infographic.
  5. To know what branding is and why it is.

In video

  1. Know the optimum lengths of video per channel.
  2. Know how to plan, edit, film and add text and music to a video shot in-house.
  3. Know how to plan and commission and external video.

In print

  1. To know when a leaflet works and to liaise with designers.
  2. To know when a newsletter or magazine works and to liase with designers.

In data

  1. To know what data to look for and what data to count.
  2. To know what open data is.

On Social media

  1. Know the Paretto Principle. The 80-20 split is what works on social media. Make 80 per cent of your content social and engaging to earn the right 20 per cent of the time to make calls to action. People don’t want to be sold to on social media.
  2. Think of Facebook as a broad landscape rather than just your page. Most people who use your organisation aren’t following your page but they are using Facebook. But they are members of groups and pages. So go looking for them there.
  3. Make friends with Facebook group and page admin. They can help share content for you.
  4. Join Facebook groups and pages as yourself. By being a human being you can show that real human beings work for the organisation.
  5. To know what audience uses the main social media accounts.
  6. To create on each platform engaging content with words, text and video for them with the right tone for the right occasion.
  7. To know how customer services works with social media.
  8. To respond using social media in an emergency.
  9. To know new platforms and be able to experiment with them.
  10. To be able to create and schedule content at the right time.

Picture credit: Ryan Dickey / Flickr

Original source – The Dan Slee Blog » LOCAL SOCIAL: Is it time for a Local localgovcamp?

19th October 2017

Dr Alice Lilly writes in the Guardian about the IfG’s latest edition of Performance Tracker.

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Original source – The Institute for Government

19th October 2017

The IfG’s latest Performance Tracker finds that plugging funding gaps in critical public services will cost £10 billion over the next five years without fixing deep-seated problems.

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Original source – The Institute for Government

19th October 2017

Coverage of the IfG’s latest edition of Performance Tracker. 

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Original source – The Institute for Government

18th October 2017

Express reports on Michel Barnier’s briefing paper in the Brexit talks. References the IfG’s chart on options for post-Brexit trade. 

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Original source – The Institute for Government

It’s important to pack light when testing prototypes across the country. As well as being practical, you have to leave weighty assumptions on the platform at, in our case, Euston or Kings Cross.  

Over the last few months Policy Lab has been working on a project commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to explore ways to improve experiences of people in the Private Rented Sector (PRS). Luckily, all our prototypes were paper-based, quick to flick through and encouraged scribbled suggestions.

I joined the project as the Lab’s new Policy Designer just before we began testing. The prototypes had been created with design agency Snook (see Vasant’s earlier blog), taking ideas which were first developed in co-design workshops with landlords and tenants. They were based on four key themes:

  • How tenants reassure potential landlords, and vice versa  (trust)
  • Tenant and landlord support (advice)
  • Families in the PRS (security)
  • Tenant and landlord responsibilities and repairs (trust/ communications)

Policy makers from DCLG joined us on the journey to see first hand how landlords, tenants and letting agents interacted with different prototypes. As prototyping is about exploration, on the outbound journey we carried ideas and questions, not solutions. On the return journey we carried even more ideas and even more questions, not solutions.

Our project concerned renting in England so we recruited a mix of landlords and tenants, particularly outside London:

On the train back from Birmingham our tote bags contained insights like:

  • The local newspaper is still where many people advertise and find a place to live
  • The meaning of a ‘long term’ tenancy differs depending on life stage
  • Some parents depend on their eldest children to understand complex information or technology

From Manchester our brains were full of questions like:

  • Why do some tenancies cause landlords significant worries?
  • Which information would different groups be willing to share publicly?
  • How come landlords and tenants don’t think about their role very often?

Our time with letting agents from York and London made us question how we could deliver information that could increase both groups’ awareness of their rights and responsibilities.  

In the north west, we conducted less formal research by simply approaching people – this time on the kind invite of Citizens Advice Wigan. It was amazing how forthcoming visitors to the centre were. I will never forget hugging two older ladies in the entrance… and them continuing to wink at me as I talked to other people in the waiting area.

It wasn’t easy. Many of the meetings we arranged were cancelled – people had other stuff to do, including chasing paperwork, or dealing with immediate issues related to their housing situation. But we had chats with several people after their appointments. And others met us before their slots, perhaps a little distracted by waiting for their ticket number to be called on the tannoy, but still giving us hugely valuable insights. We learnt things like:

  • Lots of people use informal tenancy arrangements within family and friend networks
  • Paperwork is often misplaced or doesn’t exist at all
  • Trust and price can trump the importance of formal agreements

Testing in Wigan marked the end of phase one of prototyping. We then refined the designs based on the feedback before engaging letting agents, landlords, and tenants across London.  We changed the wording of our interventions to make things clearer and more accurate for users and learned where we could better place information to ensure it was seen at times it could be processed. Our redesigns attempted to understand how policy makers could target interventions before points of crisis.  

After capturing notes from interviews and focus groups with over 60 people involved in the PRS (approx. 50% tenants, 35% Landlords and 15% Letting agents) we synthesised all the findings.

We identified, barriers, insights, opportunities (for new exploration), and changes for each of the six prototypes using verbatim and observation from our research. Having a half a day to step back and bring together the evidence was an inspiring experience which helped identify strong themes from all three perspectives.

Suddenly there were clear points of tension and agreement; it was much easier to see which ideas would fail, which needed more work, and which could benefit all parties (given a few caveats of course). Last week we ran a final service blueprinting session with the policy team and stakeholders. They identified two services to map in detail to see how the interventions could be brought to life. The first looked to boosting levels of trust between landlords and tenants using online tools. The second aimed at increasing both parties awareness of their rights and responsibilities throughout the letting process. The Policy Lab’s work on this project has come to an end, but we’ll continue to support the team as they develop ideas, alongside wider interventions to improve the experiences of thousands of people in the private rental sector.

To follow us on our journeys on different projects, around the country, or through the ever changing contexts of design and policymaking check out our twitter or visit us at 1 Horse Guards. We’d love to share our processes and stories with you.  

Original source – Policy Lab