New leadership role to boost place-based working

By Dan Peters | 02 October 2019

Local government’s sole representative on the new National Leadership Centre’s (NLC) board wants to use her role to boost place-based ways of working.

Newcastle City Council chief executive officer, Pat Ritchie, told The MJ public sector leaders needed to be trained together and backed the idea of a cross-sector peer learning and mentoring network.

The new centre, which welcomed its first cohort of public sector managers last month, comes five years after a report by the Service Transformation Challenge Panel, which Ms Ritchie co-chaired, called for public sector leaders to be trained together.

Ms Ritchie said: ‘It’s taken a while but the NLC is consciously positioning all of the public sector working together along with the private sector.

‘I’m hoping to bring that focus on place.

'I think there’s an increasing recognition from the Government point of view that they need to break down silos.

'I think there is a commitment to looking at how Whitehall and place-based leaders come together.

‘There’s a real opportunity – through the NLC and the work that the Local Government Association and others do – to collaborate around the challenges we face.

'This is about the future generation of leaders who are going to be at the forefront of a much more challenging and complex world.

'We have to build on the in-roads we’ve made on devolution.’

Ms Ritchie said some progress had been made over the last 10 years but the public sector now needed to ‘go further’ in breaking down place-based silos.

She continued: ‘The most successful local government leaders have really worked with communities and their organisations to change the way we deliver services, as well as changing the expectations of citizens and staff.

‘Over the last 10 years leadership in local government has been strong as we’ve gone through an unprecedented period of austerity.

'It’s involved us working in a different way with partners and citizens.

'I think that needs to go further.’

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