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CPI in the news Article July 23rd, 2020
Legitimacy • Innovation

Compassionate Leadership podcast: Healing the rift between Government and the community

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“Government must be more human or risk becoming irrelevant,” @NadineMCSmith tells @chriswh1tehead. #FindingLegitimacy

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In his 2020 #DitchleyLecture @michaelgove was right says @NadineMCSmith, but there is more to do to heal the government/community relationship

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#CompassionateLeadership means systems leadership and life-long organisational learning, @NadineMCSmith tells @chriswh1tehead

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Bridget Nurre Jennions, Centre for Public Impact

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Compassionate Leadership podcast: healing the rift between Government and the community

“Government must be more human or risk becoming irrelevant,” Nadine Smith tells Chris Whitehead.

Summary of the discussion on the Compassionate Leadership Interview podcast, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and RSS.


Recently the CPI produced a report in which Nadine wrote “Government must be more human or risk becoming irrelevant.” She says there are three key elements to effective Government: legitimacy, policy and action. Of these, she has found that the conversation about legitimacy has been the most challenging, touching on mistrust, anxiety, apathy, and antipathy. She found that young people are “drifting away from the idea that Government could be of any help to them whatsoever.”

More than that, she observed that almost anyone who had been through a trauma - for example a broken relationship, issues at school, losing a business, environmental shocks - felt that there was a lack of kindness and care on the part of Government. In consequence many people are deciding that the only way to effect change is to “do it ourselves, in our own way” and with disregard to the law.

Nadine would concur with Michael Gove when he said in his Ditchley annual lecture on 27th June 2020 that “there is a deep disenchantment on the part of many of our communities with a political system that they feel has failed them.” However, she wonders if the Government fully understands what is required in order to become more human; it is not just about moving a few civil servants out of Westminster and improving the quality of data.

She believes that the Government needs to think differently about what regions and localities can contribute. Each place in the UK has a different character and it is appropriate to provide them with more self-determination, enhancing their value and self-worth. Central Government can play a role in this by “coordinating, enabling and connecting.”


Listen to the full conversation on the Compassionate Leadership Interview,  Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or RSS.


About the Centre for Public Impact

The Centre for Public Impact is a not-for-profit founded by Boston Consulting Group. Believing that governments can and want to do better for people, we work side-by-side with governments—and all those who help them—to reimagine government, and turn ideas into action, to bring about better outcomes for everyone. We champion public servants and other changemakers who are leading this charge and develop the tools and resources they need, like our Public Impact Fundamentals, so we can build the future of government together.

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