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CPI in the news Article November 1st, 2020
Cities • Innovation • Delivery

Public Sector Executive: A Different Approach to Improvement in Oxford City Council

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Bridget Nurre Jennions, Centre for Public Impact

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A Different Approach to Improvement in Oxford City Council

John Burgoyne joins Becky Willis of Oxford City Council to reflect on how learning pods have been a breakthrough for keeping Oxford Together and measuring progress during the pandemic.

Originally published by Public Sector Executive.


Oxford City Council was among the recent cohort of the Upstream Collaborative, an active learning network of Local Government innovators supported by Nesta who brought in the Centre for Public Impact to think about reframing measurement as a tool for learning rather than control. To do this, Oxford City Council is experimenting with learning pods, an evaluation method that has helped build a learning-oriented culture.


Key to the model is offering staff a safe space to speak truthfully and openly, knowing they will not be punished. Those insights garnered from the discussions are used to inform decision making about how to adapt and improve moving forward. After reflecting on the questions with a learning partner, staff come together for a group discussion to understand perspectives across different pods. In addition to enabling learning, the exercise builds empathy as staff are exposed to a wide range of perspectives.

Oxford Together, a collaboration between Oxford City Council and Oxford Hub focused on helping those in need during COVID-19, incorporated learning pods as a regular reflection mechanism into their work. A group of approximately 30 staff identified challenges and opportunities they can act on in the first two sessions alone.


Read the complete piece in Public Sector Executive.


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 so we can build the future of government together.

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