We recently invited Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, Rob Huntington, Assistant Chief Executive at St Helens Borough Council and Rebecca Peck, Assistant Chief Executive at West Northamptonshire Council to join us for Transitions 2021.
Matt Skinner (MS): Thanks for rejoining us, I hope you've been able to top up your tea and coffee and maybe even grab a biscuit. Over the next 15 minutes or so, we've invited three fantastic public sector leaders to share some of their stories of leading change. They'll talk about place and leadership, collaboration and how they're taking a networked approach to creating public value in their places.
I'm joined this morning by our first counsellor, Georgia Gould, who is the leader of Camden Council and also the chair of London counsellors. Georgia, I'm going to hand it over to you.
Georgia Gould (GG): Good morning everyone, I’m really pleased to be here to discuss such an important topic. The last year and a half or so has been as difficult as we can imagine, for everyone, for our places and for our communities. But I think it's also shown the power of local leadership and local government. Where we've tried to implement new centralised solutions as a country, they've often floundered, being slow and struggling to take root in communities. Whether it's the national testing system, or if people remember, at the beginning of a pandemic, there was an attempt at national food distribution.
But on the other side, we've seen local places step up almost overnight, in really extraordinary ways. And we now see Test and Trace increasingly coming down to local government. We’ve seen local places develop our own food distribution, our own new services, in a matter of days. I think the reason we were able to do that was because we had the convening power, the strength of local relationships and understanding of need that enabled us to act really quickly to bring people together. It looked very different in different places, but where we do trust local places we see extraordinary things come out of that. And I hope that really is one of the learnings from the pandemic, the need to really trust local leadership and local places and to enable innovation to happen.