CSaP Policy Leaders Fellow 2016 - 2018
Director General for Regulation, UK Statistics Authority
23 January 2018
"CSaP is nothing if not an advertisement for the power of connecting to new ideas. This has impressed me and rubbed off on me. When confronting a new problem or set of issues, I'm much more likely now to ask my teams "do we know the current or newest thinking about this issue?"
The most significant benefit to me of my Policy Fellowship has been a growth in my confidence – in working with big, new ideas; in participating on equal terms with global experts; and in trusting my curiosity. I've used this confidence in my day job, and as a development experience it's been perfect.
In contrast to the leadership development programmes I've been on in recent years – which have tended to have a reflective, look-inside-yourself focus – the CSaP Fellowship has given me confidence in an outward orientation, towards the world and to new ideas.
I've gained a series of specific ideas that I've used to guide my thinking as I lead the new Office for Statistics Regulation. Some ideas have been of immediate and direct applicability; others resonated but could be placed in storage, ready to be drawn on at just the right time.
For example, on my first CSaP day, Dame Fiona Reynolds talked of her aim to turn the National Trust into an "open-armed" organisation when she became Chief Executive. The phrase "open-armed organisation" is a slow burner that has grown in prominence in my mind since I first heard it. And it serves as a leitmotif for the whole CSaP experience: this notion of opening up space for public participation has recurred throughout my CSaP experience. For example, it's frequently part of Lord Richard Wilson's summaries at the end of the Fellowship's meetings, which can often focus on the diffusion of power away from Whitehall, and it crops up repeatedly elsewhere too.
Similarly, I found the discussions on social cohesion, the future of cities and the future of work completely fascinating, stimulating, and challenging
To summarise the impact of CSaP in a sentence: When confronting a new problem or set of issues, I'm much more likely now to ask my teams "do we know the current or newest thinking about this issue?"