David Fairhurst: I’ve learnt that… you need to build bridges between central and local government
Updated: Apr 15
I have learnt that for the machinery of government to work, central government policy developers need to translate their concepts and ideas into practical, deliverable programmes. To avoid policy being lost in translation, civil servants in central government and public servants in devolved government need to work effectively together. Through my experience of working in the public sector for over 10 years, I’ve found that relationships between central and local administrations can be strained – often either due to party political differences, or broader ideological differences of opinion in how services should be delivered.
I believe that courage is needed on both sides to work more closely together. Some of the most successful programmes we’ve supported over the last 10 years illustrate that effective, early engagement of stakeholders from across central and devolved government – often with other parties from outside the government as well – can create the challenge and support needed to stimulate genuine collaboration, innovation and momentum to deliver real change: capturing the intent of policy, honed for practical frontline delivery.
The DfE’s Innovation Programme exemplified this with external investment experts, such as Sir Clive Cowdery, working alongside senior departmental civil servants, sector experts, official regulators and experienced leaders from local government. Over the six or so years of the programme, we have seen major changes in attitudes to innovation and improved relationships between stakeholders across the sector, driving improved outcomes in one of the most challenging periods our public services have ever known.
To learn more about our work with central government contact David firstname.lastname@example.org.
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