Monthly Archives: November 2014

The only constant is change

No one week in Birmingham is the same. To use the old cliche, the only constant is change.


So, on Monday I was invited to co-publicise the imminent release of the latest leadership research being undertaken at the University of Birmingham’s Public Service Academy.  This ongoing work has the title of “The 21st Century Public Servant” and it proposes a set of characteristics that should be present in this and the future generation of public service leaders.

The document might well have been written as the guidebook to our Big Conversations. When it is available I thoroughly commend it to you – and I might even insist that it forms part of our recruitment and induction packs in the future.

Combined Authority

Much of last week was given over to tee-ing up the mega-announcement on Friday that Birmingham City and the four Black Country Councils – Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton – are going to set up a Combined Authority to strengthen partnership working on economic issues. This is a momentous decision as it means that, together, it will be possible to bring more investment into our city region and, crucially, secure more jobs.

There is much work to be done to bring the Combined Authority in existence, but the agreement to do so represents an important step forward in securing a thriving regional economy and demonstrates to government, in particular, that we are serious about putting jobs and growth before borders.

Over the coming weeks we will also be discussing with our LEP district council partners how they can play into this new arrangement. At the same time, both Solihull and Coventry – and the district councils that Coventry works with closely – will let us know if they want to join the party. Watch this space.

For more information, here’s the link to Friday’s announcement:‘economic-powerhouse’/


As if Friday wasn’t exciting enough, I then had the great pleasure of attending the 10th annual Chamberlain Awards. The evening celebrated the magnificent achievements of colleagues across the front line of the organisation and I was so proud to meet so many committed people, all of whom are truly living up to our purpose of making a difference everyday to the lives of local people.

And it was a pleasure to host the evening’s compère, Sue Perkins, who was hugely entertaining and really engaged with the winners and guests.

And a very big shout out to the organisers, without whom …

If you want to see (literally) why this event is so important you can track the night’s Tweeting on #CA14.


On Saturday afternoon I joined this open conference event, the third time it’s been held in Birmingham. I was an eclectic and, often electric, set of inputs and exposed me to a whole set of ideas and people who we (the council) need to engage with.

I was in front of a largely unfamiliar audience, and yet almost everyone present was from Birmingham and actively seeking to take forward brilliant projects across our great city. So, the challenge for all of us, not just me, is to tap into this exciting resource and energy. As I said in my closing remarks, we need to work together for the benefit of Birmingham, aligning our ideas and actions and being committed to developing new networks that empower positive change through pro-creation, co-creation and – importantly – getting out of the way if that’s what needed to allow someone else’s great initiative to fly.

Have a look here:


And finally, but most importantly of all, on Sunday morning I attended the annual service of remembrance for those who have given their lives for their country. As you will know, this year is all the more poignant because it marks the centenary of the start of World War 1.

I am always moved by the commemoration, as I’m sure you are too. However many times I hear it, the following words always bring a lump to my throat:

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Let’s make sure we do.