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Being part of a brilliant Civil Service

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The Brilliant Civil Service in Action events are almost over – the last one is in Sheffield on the 1st May, there’s still a few places left if you are very quick. These events are bringing together hundreds of enthusiastic civil servants from a range of departments to network, hear motivational speakers, share our ideas and being given the challenge to turn these ideas into reality.

We were lucky enough to attend the event in London where we were split into tables to work on differing topics we’d expressed an interest in. Ours was making the Civil Service a learning organisation. Our table reflected on the learning opportunities that are available – and there are many – and how we could overcome the barriers, perceived and real, that stop us making the most of these.

What we agreed was learning needs to be an integral part of what we do and that it was up to each of us, collectively and as individuals, to grab every opportunity be that a face to face course, online learning, reading a book, shadowing or simply listening to colleagues. We also need to share what we learn more, talk about it (whether it was good or bad), what difference it makes, show appreciation when we learn from others and so on.

Everyone on our table committed to doing something back in their office, to keep in touch and hopefully meet up again to continue the conversation. Here’s what the others had to say about the event.

I thought the whole concept was a good idea and long awaited. The idea of putting like-minded people in groups where they can share their experiences and bounce off each other’s ideas, which can be taken away and used in their respective offices, was fantastic. I was especially pleased to see a senior leader for the people on our table. He took on board our comments and seemed very interested in what we had to say and hopefully he will be able to take some or all of our thoughts, ideas and issues into consideration when making decisions about staff on the ground level who have direct links with our customers. It was interesting to establish that although we were from other business streams and areas our concerns were the same. I enjoyed the morning and hope there will be more of the same in the future. The event definitively left me on a high to work towards improving our learning environment. ” Anne

"The event was engaging, relevant and timely. My key take away point from the day is learning within the Civil Service will only occur by design and not by chance. It has to be intentional, inspirational and intuitive. It highlighted the need to share best practice across the Civil Service. I hope this event is a start of many more and the key ideas discussed are acted upon." Funke

“It was incredibly useful to meet other like-minded civil servants who also wanted to transform their workplace into a ‘learning organisation’. Our discussions covered the challenges of becoming a ‘learning organisation’, potential solutions and viable ideas to trial at work. I have shared the topics of discussion and ideas from the conference with my team, galvanising their creativity to design a Learning at Work Week. As a result, we will be running workshops and drop in sessions to increase the profile of L&D and awareness of learning in the workplace (outside the ‘classroom’ of traditional training). A key take home message from the day was “what small change can you make, which can have a big impact?” This is definitely something we will be promoting, alongside the Change Agents in our organisation.” Alex.

"It was extremely encouraging to see the great work that is going on across government agencies. Sharing stories enabled me to gain a better understanding of other departments and how they applied principles of L&D, Employee Engagement and our civil service values. Although , often restrained by resources, funds and even venues, we were able to share innovative ideas on how to keep L&D alive within our teams - in a bid to help the Civil Service truly become a learning organisation. Not only did I really enjoy the networking at our table, but I really came away inspired by the various guest speakers. Their honesty and enthusiasm came through so clearly and really inspired me anew. In terms of going forward, I intend to link in with Civil Service local and establish relationships across departments. I have equally been able to share key learning points with the regional group that I lead and hope that a few of them will be able to attend future events too." Jo-Ann

"I was extremely energised and encouraged being amongst colleagues who had similar drive and enthusiasm for wanting to continue to make A Brilliant Civil Service a reality. It was a great opportunity to take time out of our busy schedules to hear from and listen to the excellent work everyone is doing in their various departments, more importantly to explore how we can learn from each other and contribute to shaping the future. I came away from the event feeling very positive about embarking on a learning journey together with colleagues, with a view to sharing different learning styles and opportunities." Sandra

"For me, as someone who gets great creative energy from talking with interested colleagues, it was great to be part of A Brilliant Civil Service in Action event in London with our table focused on how we can become a learning organisation. It's very timely, given the changes and expanded offers being rolled out over coming months. But what struck me most was the shared belief that we need to accommodate multiple (equally valid) learning styles and contexts, from the digital offer to simply sharing books. Some people learn best in groups, others on their own, and in a Civil Service of over 400,000 colleagues we still need to make sure everyone has a chance to learn in the best way for them as an individual. Rupert

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