27/10/2014 Leave a comment
Last Monday saw me travelling to Bristol to have dinner with the latest cohort of Public Health England Professionals attending the Leadership Centre for Local Government programme about working in a Political Environment. ahead of working with them on the Tuesday to help them develop their understanding of the political processes in Local Government. Alongside me was Cllr. Roz Gladden, who is the Deputy Mayor of Liverpool City Council and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services, representing Labour Councillors and Cllr. Howard Sykes from Oldham Council who is Leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group and has held various positions over a long and distinguished Local Government career. We joined the cohort midway through a two day course and to informally chat and gather some insights as to how we might tailor the sessions the following morning.
In short we do a sort of triple act discussing firstly why we got into politics and what keeps us interested, then we have a Chatham House question and answer session where the delegates were able to ask us at the differences and similarities of the various political parties and our own personal approaches to problem solving. Then we worked around the various tables over the course of the rest of the session exploring different scenario and ways to work with Councillors in this their new political environment.
As you discuss their issues you certainly do reflect on your own council’s approaches and the problems they face and in part this is what makes this work so worthwhile. As with all services over the coming years the backdrop of reduced funding is the new lexicon and Public Health is starting to develop its voice and narrative as to why it’s role in important in Councils and the lives of residents; and courses like this one are a part of that understanding and so I am pleased to play my small part in the process.