Join the New E-Discussion on ‘Reinvigorating the Public Service’

17 Feb

The UNDP have collaborated with the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre (GSDRC) to develop an e-Discussion on “Reinvigorating the Public Service”. The objective of this initiative is to strengthen public services as a crucial step to achieving the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Unfortunately, in many countries, years of declining morale and self-esteem have undermined the public service and if this problem is not addressed it seems increasingly unlikely public services can produce a complex agenda on a reduced budget. The e-Discussion seeks to engage experts, practitioners and policy makers in a global dialogue on “what really works” (and doesn’t work) in reforming public service in order to begin to tackle these problems.

Hosted on the UN Teamworks online platform from 10 February 2014 to 9 March 2014, the e-Discussion will provide a platform for posting queries, ideas and solutions. Content generated during the e-Discussion, including links to key resources, will be available after the discussion. The findings and insights will be summarized in a report that will be presented at the 2nd Public Service Dialogue that will be running later in the year at the GCPSE.

ECFR Scorecard 2014 Published

10 Feb

The European Council on Foreign Relations has released its annual European Foreign Policy Scorecard for the year 2013. The Scorecard is an annual report that systematically assesses Europe’s performance in dealing with the rest of the world. It compares the policies of the 28 EU member states against a number of central themes to assess whether they are a leader or a slacker in each field. The six key themes cover: China, Russia, US, Wider Europe, Middle East and North Africa and Multiplateral Issues. This year’s report found that there were significant failures in certain aspects of the EU’s foreign relations, especially with Russia, where Europe failed to repsond adequatly to increasing pressure on Eastern Neighbourhood states.

Cat was the consultant for assessing the UK’s performance against these key themes. She found that the UK was a “leader” on 11 components of European foreign policy,– second only to France. The UK played an active role in efforts on Iran and Syria and Iran, Asian security, the Serbia-Kosovo agreement and TTIP, but it was a “slacker” on trade disputes and human rights in China.

Cat Explores the Ways Politics can Engage People in Policy-Making

23 Dec

As a Guardian Professional, Cat has recently had her article, ‘Five ways political parties can engage more people in policymaking’ published in The Guardian online. In this report she assesses the recent World Forum for Democracy, which was held in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe in November, and the use of technology in policy-making. Cat notes that whilst the forum showcased successful examples of public engagement through technology, such as America’s Civic-IQ using insights from Playstation and Xbox to encourage citizen involvement in political problem solving, it also served to highlight the drawbacks. Cat outlines some of these disadvantages as the over-reliance on technology as the solution to political apathy or poor decision-making, and notes that large-scale online mobilisation is as open to abuse and manipulation as any other democratic process.

Open Letter Calling on Government to Commit to Greater Openess in Run Up to OGP

29 Oct

This month, Involve has coordinated a group of civil society organisations to produce an open letter calling on the Prime Minister to announce a series of ambitious commitments towards greater openness at the Open Government Partnership Summit at the end of the October. The Summit was opened to offer an international platform for domestic reformers attempting to make their governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.

Involve has done hugely important work with this letter, not only in terms of the benefits to individual commitments, but towards all the countries that are involved in the Summit, showing the ambition that is expected of them as national action plans are formulated over the next few months.

School of International Futures Summer Retreat 2013

1 Oct

As a co-founder of The School of International Futures (SOIF), Cat has recently been heavily involved in the implementation and coordination of its week-long 2013 Summer Retreat. A not-for-profit enterprise, the School of International Futures aims to help governments and other organisations work towards such goals by developing international networks and partnerships. It operates as a centre for research into global trends, runs courses bringing together participants from different countries, and organises seminars and conferences, working together with the international futures community.

In August 2013, Cat and co-founder, Alun Rhydderch, ran the second SOIF Summer Retreat at Wilton Park. The SOIF Summer Retreat aims to share foresight approaches and techniques from experts, supply delegates with a set of tools and techniques to think through the future of their organisations and policy areas, and uses practical examples to enable delegates to start to apply these skills as soon as they leave. The event this year was a huge success, with 25 delegates attending from 15 different countries; joining together to share knowledge and perspectives in the area of strategic foresight.

‘Ten Dynamic Priorities for New Election Manifestos’ – NHJ September Article

24 Sep

The big issue question today is how will UK ‘survive and thrive’ in the tough global swimming race? Whilst NHJ has continued to warn that the eurozone faces major adjustment sooner or later, and that the British economy is still some years away from safety, we have consistently maintained that UK has the intellectual, innovation, and skills potential to do better than most other nations in the 21st century ‘sink or swim’ swimming race. We have the world’s pivotal global city and top financial centre, our culture and diversity of population are critical strengths, and in around 30 years time we take over from Germany as the most populous European nation.

This is an extract from the latest strategic risk analysis released by NHJ, a strategic advisory consultancy that Cat is closely involved with. This article on the ‘Ten Dynamic Priorities for New Election Manifestos’ explores the capacity for the British economy, leadership and policy. This article suggests ten strategic change priorities would make a start to moving Britain towards the forefront of the ‘swimming race’.

School of International Futures Highlights the Importance of Horizon-Scanning in Government

9 Sep

As the co-founder of the School of International Futures, Cat recently led the annual SOIF Summer Retreat at Wilton Park. In August, the Organisation’s other co-founder, Alun Rhydderch, had his article on the re-emergence of horizon-scanning in government published in The Guardian Online: ‘Horizon Scanning: Why Forward Plans are Back in Fashion’.

As the co-founder of the School of International Futures, Cat recently led the annual SOIF Summer Retreat at Wilton Park. In August, the Organisation’s other co-founder, Alun Rhydderch, had his article on the re-emergence of horizon-scanning in government published in The Guardian Online: ‘Horizon Scanning: Why Forward Plans are Back in Fashion’.

Alun’s article highlighted the progress horizon-scanning and strategic thinking has had in government over the years. From the establishment of the Horizon Scanning Centre in 2005, to the creation of a new horizon scanning programme, which is overseen by the cabinet secretary and includes permanent secretaries from all of the major government departments. By exploring future issues and the risks associated with them, policy-making can be fully informed and set in place important contingency plans. Yet Alun’s Guardian article emphasises how there are still questions around how this system will work, and the willingness of policy teams to commission and use horizon scanning remains one of the primary problems inherent in the effective use of horizon scanning in government.

‘Hope, Fantasy and…Reality’ – NHJ Explore National Economy

9 Jul

More people are more upbeat – at least about the economy – now than in the past few dark years. There are some emerging signs of stronger growth in UK, and the wider economic picture is marginally better than a few years ago – even though the debt levels and youth unemployment remain stubbornly high. But risks and bubbles abound and our hopes have been dashed many times these last five years. Have we really reached the turning point “from rescue to recovery” as George Osborne claims? Which strategic risks demand our attention? What are the big trends that are fundamentally transforming our lives more quickly than perhaps we realise?