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remember Donnygate?

I was just thinking back to the speech I made at the Future Leaders Conference on the 15th April this year, organised by Changemakers with young people in their late teens and early twenties.   I said: So what is wrong with our system of government and what can we do to address it? There are…

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Those expenses claims

Day 4 of the Daily Telegraph led news coverage of MPs expenses claims.   “It was within the rules” seems to be the only response that MPs can muster.    A friend of mine who isn’t the least bit interested in politics said to me over the weekend that the expenses claims are to be expected because MPs…

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Engaging citizens in economic recovery

At LGiU we believe that empowering local people leads to stronger democracy and more effective governance. Of course we’re not alone in this: empowerment is central to how all the major parties think about local democracy and forms a major part of the current public policy landscape. But as the economy struggles towards recovery and…

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Captain Mike Abrashoff

Just reflecting on the day I spent in Boston with Deborah Ancona, from the Sloan School at MIT, who shared ideas on leadership, innovation and improving performance in organisations.  Deborah has developed a new approach, known as X-teams that has been adopted in many of the worlds top companies.  To illustrate, she used a great story about the  US Naval…

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Boston final edition

The Boston Globe, one of America’s leading newspapers, well known for its coverage of national and international news, as well as city and state news, is on the verge of being wound up after a dispute between its owner and the workforce.  So anyday now could see the final edition, although local Senators Ted Kennedy…

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Competition conflict and collectivism

The two Harvard freshmen who gave us a tour delighted in stories of competition with other universities, conflict with the neighbouring town of Cambridge, and collective action of varying kinds, including the alumni who have made Harvard the second wealthiest private institution in the world.  The wealthiest is the Catholic Church.   These themes ran through our…

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Stealing home

Do you use the expression ‘home run’, do you sometimes just want ‘ball park’ figures or to ‘hit it out of the ball park’.    All of this means more to me now after getting the hottest ticket in America to see the Boston Red Sox play the New York Yankees.  Two of the biggest teams…

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Boston, Massachusetts

It’s not that there is anything wrong with Boston in Lincolnshire, it’s a smashing place, but there is potential for geographic confusion. I am here in Boston for a week long course at Harvard and MIT, along with a group of Chief Executives of public sector organisations, courtesy of BT who have been running ‘Vital…

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local health services and accountability

Feedback from our big debate on health accountability last week, hosted with the All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group. We had a mix of local authorities around the table, represented by Councillors and officers working in the health field, with health practitioners and national health organisations such as the NHS Confederation and the Kings Fund, and…

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Educating for financial capability

There is a proposal in Budget 2009 (page 98) to include financial capability as a part of the statutory secondary school curriculum. Apart from seeing a role for local government in spreading its considerable expertise, it makes you wish that such a course was available to bankers at RBS, Lloyds etc (in fact Lloyds is donating…

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