New Ways of Working in the Public Sector

A few weeks back I introduced the public Sector Nomads site. The man behind it all, Ken Eastwood, has kindly agreed to write a guest blog post for us telling us more about the site’s plans and aspirations.

Ken is an Assistant Director at Barnsley Council in South Yorkshire where he leads Regulatory Services including Environmental Health, Trading Standards, Licensing and Bereavement Services. He has a number of corporate leadership roles, including Innovation and Mobile & Flexible Working. An Environmental Health Officer by profession, he began his local government career in 1985 in Liverpool and worked in Bradford for 15 years, before joining Barnsley in 2002.

Ken was a board member of UK Government’s Project Nomad and previously led the Project Nomad Cemetery Headstone Safety proof of concept and more recently led the national ReGS Project, implementing mobile and flexible working solutions across Regulatory Services, in partnership with Sheffield City Council. He has spoken at and chaired many conferences, seminars and workshops including eGov and tGov events. Ken is leading the transformation of Nomad, seeking to build a sustainable, public sector wide community of interest.

Ken has been an advisor to government on data sharing, new work styles and the better regulation agenda and he has a passionate interest in new ways of working and about technology enabled change.

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As an Environmental Health Officer by profession I have always had an interest in environmental issues and, in particular, in local air quality and the impacts of transportation and travel. The Carbon Management agenda is becoming increasingly important to all of us and I’m struck by the possible scale of the contribution new ways of working could have here. I live 42 miles from my workplace and commute most days up and down the M62 and M1. A day spent at home a week reduces my travel to work carbon impacts by 20%, for example. I think we should make more of the environmental benefits going forward, as well as the considerable wellbeing benefits arising from improved work life balance.

Public Sector Nomads is the successor organisation to Project Nomad, UK Government’s former local eGov mobile and flexible working project.

There is much interest across the whole public sector in new ways of working enabled by technology. The pressures on public spending are serving to further raise the profile of these issues and it is becoming apparent that the learning acquired across local government has relevance to the rest of the public sector and the challenges we all face going forward are of course very similar.

Public Sector Nomads is seeking to establish a modern and dynamic forum to enable peer to peer support, experience sharing, innovation and thought leadership. As budgets are withdrawn and quangos wound up, there will remain a role for agile and low cost communities of interest to support and facilitate sector led improvement.

We are in discussion with various public and private sector organisations to secure support for the development and maintenance of a new online platform and ways to resource our membership administration, community facilitation and events organisation.

Our vision is for Public Sector Nomad to establish an overarching community, consisting of groups of interest organised by sector e.g. local government, NHS and by region, e.g. Nomad Scotland.

We hope to develop a future programme around;

  • An information service to members on mobile & flexible working, new work styles, leadership & organisational change and associated technology enabled transformation;

  • A refreshed online reference library and archive of materials including case studies, toolkits, policies and procedures;
  • A new web 2.0 platform to support the community and facilitate collaboration;
  • Technology reviews and community rated opinions;
  • A dynamic project database detailing who is doing what in this space across the UK;
  • A series of targeted events, workshops and conferences to deliver value for money learning;
  • New eLearning packages, and;
  • A bespoke support and advice service, provided by trusted associate consultants.

Much of our content resides at to www.projectnomad.org.uk but whilst we are working behind the scenes on a new platform, we’ve set up a ‘news’ site with basic interactive facilities over at www.publicsectorNOMADS.com

Colleagues may wish to sign up to the new site, subscribe to receive email or RSS updates and begin to add comment to the online debate. The new site will give a taste of likely future direction and the platform housing new and legacy content will eventually be hosted at the same domain.

As we build a new future for Public Sector Nomads you can play your part by engaging with the community. Tell us what you are doing or the challenges you face;

  • Do you have content that would be of interest to others?
  • What challenges are you facing and how could Nomad help?
  • Do you have ‘news’ to post on publicsectorNOMADS?
  • Do you have views on our direction and helpful suggestions to share?
  • Can you provide sponsorship to support our administration or help to raise awareness of our work more widely?

We would love to hear from you – online to mail@publicsectornomads.com

Looking to the future we hope to see much wider adoption of mobile and flexible working across our public services. We have enough learning to be confident in the technologies and to understand the issues involved. Now is the time for game-changing innovation on a scale we haven’t seen since industrialization. Now is the time for all elements of the public sector to collaborate and work together on shared solutions and the promotion of best practice. I hope Public Sector Nomads will play a helpful role.

Ken Eastwood
Founder, Public Sector Nomads

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2 thoughts on “New Ways of Working in the Public Sector

  1. I think the last paragraph says it all. Now is the time for change and to reap the benefits of remote working. The only problem I can see is that all the public sector people I meet and talk to say the same thing. – They can’t get a decent connection at home. This is a serious issue, and the final third (the ones who by BT and gov’s own admission – who can’t get adsl or moblie now – won’t be able to get NGA either unless something is done quickly. There is a blogpost here making suggestions to justify investment now. Balancing the books to justify NGA investment: http://bit.ly/aEADYZ #digitalbritain if anyone wants to find out more. Great post Ken. Power to the people.

  2. Pingback: technews

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