Monthly Archives: June 2011

Quick updates on news of the moment

Hear the new Chair of the LGA, Sir Merrick Cockell share some earlier ideas on sharing services from his perspective as the Leader of RB Kensington & Chelsea in London. Here’s his inaugural speech to the LGA conference in Birmingham this week. His election is not universally well received (actually worse than that) on the ConservativeHome website, mainly because the bloggers there demand the LGA’s abolition – which is pretty much the answer one hears from that  worldview for anything that isn’t directly ‘wealth-creating’ (who is that ‘wealth’ for, by the way?). News of a more edifying… Read more
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More on pensions and a bit from the CBI

Here is a recent press release relating to a speech made last week by the CBI’s DG. The trenchant criticism of the government’s reform agenda is interesting in its own right. What needs a little exploration are the unsubstantiated assertions and claims about the beneficial nature of private sector involvement in public service delivery. There’s even a swipe at public sector pensions (please see my last blog on that issue) in the usual, broad and undifferentiated terms. Now, reform of some pension schemes in the public sector would be helpful, for instance why not start with some of the unfunded… Read more
Posted in Pensions and CBI | Leave a comment

Hello world!

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum. It is a long established fact that a reader… Read more
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Public sector pensions – time for a more informed debate

I think something needs to be said about the paucity of the radio debates I’ve been listening to about ‘public sector’ pensions. Most commentators lump all public sector employees, and therefore their pensions, together. I am no expert (there, I’ve said it), but many public sector schemes are contributary and some are not. Does anybody out there know which pension is on which list? I could guess, but not a single commentator on the radio has made this distinction in terms. All schemes in the public sector are not equal and neither are the inputs/outcomes/exposure. Whilst there are a few… Read more
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Nokia worth £15bn

Sometimes you just have to get it off your chest! I read recently that Nokia’s company value is £15bn, whereas in 2002 it’s value was £285bn. Having been blighted with the Nokia E72 for almost 18 months now, I am not remotely surprised in this loss of value, given one person’s experience of their technology. Yet, it all started so differently for me. I moved to Nokia after 8 years of suffering Blackberry; frustrated by their plastic construction, multiple hardware and software keyboard failures, total failure of a handset during a routine software update (yes, nudge the darn thing during… Read more
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Planning in a Pickle

On the ResPublica blog (not a place I visit often) there is an interesting and accessible blog concerning the planning system. Written at the back end of last year, and therefore before the Localism Bill was published, it remains nonetheless a helpful contribution to understanding the dilemmas of ‘localising’ the planning system yet somehow avoiding the worst aspects of nimbyism, as well as how to encourage developers to engage in meeting local need more successfully than the claimed simplistic housing quotas. For instance, one comment about the blog suggested that Eric Pickles, by abolishing targets for new house building had… Read more
Posted in Appreciative planning | Leave a comment

Impact of Inflation on low income households

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has just published an interesting and accessible piece of research into the impact of inflation on different age groups and income levels. The research looked at differences in spending patterns and household-level inflation rates between different income groups. It found marked differences in spend between higher and lower income households. Lower-income households spent more on food, water and fuel and less on leisure goods and services than higher-income households. The report concluded  that these differences in spend patterns lead to high and low income households experiencing different inflation rates in any given year. The IFFS… Read more
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“This is a very noisy era.I believe the volume is directly related to our need to be listened to. In public places, in the media, we reward the loudest and most outrageous. People are literally clamouring for attention, and they’ll do whatever it takes to get noticed. Things will only get louder until we figure out how to sit down and listen. Most of us would welcome things quietening down. We can do our part to begin lowering the volume by our own willingness to listen.” Meg Wheatley, Turning to one another… Read more
Posted in Listening | Leave a comment

Theory or Practice? Which is best…

Sorry, I was penning this post when I was sidetracked by the sight of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minster and Secretary of State for Health being thrown off a hospital ward by a senior clinician. The words were, “I’m not having it, get out!”. Classic bushwhack television and deeply embarrassing as the trio had just been speaking with patients about their changes to their proposed changes in the health service. Reminiscent of several other off-message meet-the-people “opportunities,” for senior politicians e.g. Brown in Rochdale and Blair in Birmingham. Not good but riveting viewing. But back to business… I often… Read more
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Developing the Attributes of Effective Leaders

The pressure is on many organisations across all sectors. Leadership is under the spotlight, needing to step-up, turn from external authority to internal authority; from command and control to empowerment and self-direction. Effective leaders recognise that power and influence depends in part upon the breadth and quality of the relationships they forge, not on policies, procedures and job titles. Collaboration rather than competition, win/win rather than win/lose and sustainable progress over short-term profits and bonuses are all features of a new leadership paradigm. The mechanistic model of organisations and individuals has taken almost 50 years to wither, though in some… Read more
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