Civil Service Live: the biggest learning opportunity of the year for civil servants

Source: PSE Aug/Sep 15

Olly RobbinsOliver Robbins (pictured), director general of Civil Service Reform at the Cabinet Office, discusses the upcoming Civil Service Live events, what is on offer and how people can get involved.

As cabinet secretary and head of the Civil Service Sir Jeremy Heywood recently observed, the Civil Service has made huge strides in modernising itself since 2010. Responding to the challenges of a huge budget deficit, it has shown it is possible to make savings and still provide excellent services – “in fact, that a leaner Civil Service, open to new ideas, can be better and more productive”. 

But if we’re going to continue to make progress, and deliver to the public and ministers alike, the Civil Service needs to support and invest in its best asset – its people.

Civil Service Live is an important part of this investment. It is the biggest learning opportunity of the year for civil servants, and gives us a chance to come together to make real the plans we have in place to continue to improve the Service: by removing barriers holding back talented people from under-represented groups, through the Talent Action Plan; by encouraging leaders to be bold and try out new ways of working, through the Leadership Statement; and by ensuring we continue to build skills in crucial areas, including digital, commercial and project management.

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Civil Service Live is also an opportunity to do something we should do more often – celebrate the Civil Service’s achievements. It is a chance for civil servants to share experiences and ideas; to showcase, learn and be inspired by the great work being done by their colleagues. 

CS Live 5Last year, I went to each of the events. I spoke at a number of sessions, and had a chance to hear directly the views of people working in very different jobs the length and breadth of the country. It was fantastic to hear about the work being done, and the changes and innovations being driven at a local level by committed civil servants wanting to do their job better, and deliver a better service wherever they could. But it was also encouraging to note that – for all that the Civil Service is a large and varied organisation – there was as much that we have in common, whether individual or organisational challenges, and which unites the Civil Service to face the future with confidence. 

This year, as before, we have asked civil servants themselves what they want to see at Civil Service Live, what they want to learn about and who they want to listen to. 

And again, there will be something for everyone looking to bolster their learning and development, including interactive workshops, practical demonstrations, fun events, and outstanding speakers, including external and in-house experts, permanent secretaries and other senior leaders, and government ministers. 

You can visit the exhibition space, attend sessions focused on sharing knowledge and best practice from inside and outside the Civil Service, including the private, third and wider public sectors. Or you can dip into taster sessions of learning in specific areas of interest to you and make them part of your personal development plans. 

This year’s events – in Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh and London – frame four main themes: 

  • Innovation – covering digital advances, new ways of working, open policy making and technology
  • The new UK government
  • People and leadership – focusing on the commitments in the Leadership Statement
  • A skilled Civil Service 

As this article goes to press, over 11,600 civil servants have registered to attend their regional event, and 58% of all 621 sessions have been booked.

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With a workforce of over 400,000 people, not everyone in the Civil Service will be able to attend Civil Service Live. But I do encourage managers at all levels to take part. It is a fantastic opportunity to see and hear for yourself about innovative and practical tools that can be applied in our own work areas, and discover learning and development courses that help us encourage, inspire and motivate our teams to continue to improve. 

You can find more information about this year’s events, contents and venues at the Civil Service Live website, where registration is still open. 

To quote just a few civil servants tweeting about last year’s events:

Enjoying #civilservicelive today. So many interesting people and case studies to absorb knowledge from! 

My feed is full of people on their way to #civilservicelive I’m jealous! 

Learning life skills AND professional skills. Very inspirational.  Newcastle #civilservicelive 

Seminar of the day Inspiring Leadership. It’s restored some lost faith in the service #civilservicelive

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You can find more information about this year’s events, contents and venues at the Civil Service Live website / www.civilservicelive.com, where registration is still open.


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