What have I found "on the other side"? I started at the House of Commons 3 months ago today. I said in my previous blog that I would miss the people in the charity sector. Well, I'd like to announce that most folks here are just wonderful! There are plenty of parallels with a common focus and opportunity to "support a thriving democracy" which is our objective. The difference is partly scale (around 3,000 people spread across the Parliamentary estate), partly history - Parliament has been around for about 800 years with plenty of protocol, partly the unusual nature of the work and having as our core customer group MPs and their staff and partly that this is public service, not individuals centred around a cause.
So of course there are individuals who are difficult or unwilling, but that is true almost anywhere, mainly the people are here to do a great job and want the same from others. And part of my role is to start a culture change in how decisions are made so I'm hoping that helping people get the data and evidence they need will support them in knowing how to tell when they're doing a great job and when things need to be reviewed.
I said I would not miss the bureaucracy - Well, hold onto your hats because no charity ever has had as much entrenched bureaucracy as the House of Commons! When I return to the charity sector I shall be a chastened human being on that front. From the moment you are in contact with the place you are channelled to a form for everything, an approval system, a wider group of stakeholders than you could possibly imagine who each feel they need a say, layers of management. There is a move to reduce bureaucracy - let's just say there's huge scope for improvement.
Costs model - interesting this because value for money in Parliament ( Houses of Lords and Commons) is scrutinised by the NAO, who are dedicated external auditors on how we spend the public purse.
MPs money comes to them via IPSA, which was set up as an independent body after the expenses scandal - it decides what it will pay for and how much. http://www.theipsa.org.uk/. So any misdemeanour or complaint by an MP is actually nothing to do with Parliament, but taints how the public views House services anyway.
Right, back to writing my new team's strategy - trying to change the world for the better and measure how well we've done.