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Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Be nice to a bureaucrat today!

I recently wrote a newspaper column about my experience of 'Big Society' . In it I mentioned the fact that the team at Norfolk County Council's Children's Services are making a huge effort to adapt to the fast changing environment. Traditionally schools and local authorities rarely agree on everything and too often the relationship becomes rather adversarial.

Here in Norfolk I'm working with a school to create a 'Big Society' solution to their urgent need of a new campus. The way school and local authority are working together with my help to create the best result, involving both private and third sector partners is breathtaking. It's a pleasure to witness the enthusiasm with which both teams are looking for the pragmatic middle ground between safe but slow bureaucratic process and edgy, innovative new ways of working. Good governance must be maintained, but so too must opportunities be grasped before they disappear.

Feedback from County Hall suggests that my column was well received and rightly so. It's too easy to default to past mindsets and be critical, missing the fact that times have changed. Everyone is in the same boat now, anxious about the inevitable change, but also excited by what the future holds.

So before you start complaining, kicking and undermining the bureaucrats in your life, think again. Recognise how times are changing and try being nice to them instead. You'll be surprised by what happens!

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