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Thanks for the REMories – what I’ve learned and where I’m going…

March 26, 2010

Today is my last day at Regeneration East Midlands, which as you will already be aware is closing on 31st March. I’ve been very lucky to work here for the last two and a quarter years with some great colleagues who have given me some fantastic opportunities.

Hazel will be posting after the weekend on who will be picking up IEM’s work after REM closes. In the mean time, thought I would leave my ‘last post’ reflecting on my time here and letting you know what I’m up to now. It’s fair to say that all the projects I am continuing with post-REM have their roots in my time here.

Climate change policy implementation in the East Midlands: this will be taking up most of my time from now on, researching for a PhD at University of Nottingham. The project was initiated by REM, who jointly supported it with the Economic and Social Research Council under their CASE scheme. I am pleased to say that the East Midlands Regional Assembly (who become East Midlands Councils after March 31st) are enthusiastically taking up the supporting role being vacated by REM.

You can keep up to date with progress in the research at the project blog http://realiseclimate.org/

Effective communication training: safe to say I had no interest in presentation skills, either of data or slides, before arriving here. And while an attempt to lure Edward Tufte over to speak ended in disappointment, the data presentation guru’s influence grew within the Intelligence team, resulting in the Data Presentation Masterclass run by ARO’s Nicola Underdown (who sat with the Intelligence team) and the IEM Effective Communication course which I designed with Nicola and was enthusiastically received when we ran it in December.

Nicola and I are running the course again in Birmingham on April 22nd which is open to colleagues from this region. The course fills a huge gap within the training on offer to the public sector, and hopefully we will have the opportunity to deliver again in the future (not least as we really enjoy doing it!). We’ll be posting updates of resources and future training on http://effcomm.posterous.com/

Blogging: setting up this blog for REM was a fascinating and ultimately very rewarding project; a great learning experience for all involved. I was particularly happy to get such full-blooded support from our Chief Executive, Evan Rees, who quickly recognised that it represented a cheap and easy way of communicating with partners and the general public in a less formal way. Although blogging is no longer in its infancy, I’d still argue it’s sorely underused in the public sector – although there are now some very good examples of it being used within central government.

It ties in with the urgent need for public sector organisations to get their act together on effective communications. In a society which will be short of money for the foreseeable future, you can be sure that public sector organisations will come under increasing scrutiny that they are offering the public value for money. If an organisation can tell the public clearly and succinctly about the job they are doing (with taxpayers’ money), it will be an invaluable help in securing their ongoing support. This shouldn’t be taken to mean increasing spend on PR and press officers; there are a lot of very cheap, and often free, ways of getting the message out there; blogging is just one of them.

OK, that’s enough ranting from me, if you want to get in touch in the future would leave to hear from you, please drop me a mail at warren <at> realiseclimate.org or on the Twitter I’m @warrenpearce.

Bye!

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