Local Government Chronicle: Learning to listen again in local government


Bridget Nurre Jennions, Centre for Public Impact
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Learning to listen again in local government

The people in your communities who are seldom heard may hold the key to a more successful recovery, writes Nadine Smith.

Originally published in Local Government Chronicle.


In these difficult months ahead, it will be tempting to retreat – to focus on the all-consuming business of doing the day job and to stop listening, especially to groups who are often unhelpfully labelled ‘hard to reach’.

It is true that carving out additional time for active listening while struggling to meet the daily and ever-changing needs of residents during the pandemic is a daunting task that feels thankless. However, in a difficult, disruptive and, dare I say, unprecedented time, really understanding how residents have been impacted, especially those experiencing complex challenges, is fundamental to commissioning effectively, for building local partnerships and legitimacy for decisions – for example, about which services continue, reduce or stop.


Listening, learning and adapting must become embedded in the fabric of daily practice and never fall into the trap of it being a tick-box exercise or a siloed activity, because badly done consultations meant some had withdrawn from being connected at all. We cannot lose our connection to them. And this is where local government can stand head and shoulders above central government.


Read the complete piece in Local Government Chronicle.


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.