Last week, I was lucky enough to be shortlisted to be one of the Guardian’s Future Leaders in Local Government (you can vote here for your favourite…! Ahem…)

So, apart from making it clear that I had better get a wriggle on in terms of achievements to be able to match those of my fellow nominees, if we took this list as a sign of things to come in the sector, what does it tell us about the ‘future of local government’?

Well, it would be predominantly led by women. Seven out of the nine shortlisted were women, a far higher proportion than the current 43% of women in the top 5% local government earners. We all know that flexibility and acceptance of working patterns which differ from the 9-5 is one of the things local government has definitely got right over the past 10 or so years – could it be that the sector will become a particularly attractive place for ambitious women who refuse to let their career stagnate or amend their family commitments to inflexible companies, and that this will be reflected in the gender balance of our future senior managers?

The day job would probably also be an occasional weekend and evening job. I was astounded at the sheer volume of additional activities and initiatives the group were engaged with on top of their main commitments. It is clear that, as we continue to travel through difficult times in the sector, it has never been more important to go ‘above and beyond’ in searching out and sharing best practice and new ways of working. These ranges from a popular blogger who has set aside untold hours every week for years in order to anonymously share ideas, thoughts for improvement and occasional jokes with his audience of #localgov aficionados, to the excellent Generation BEST network set up by another nominee, providing support to graduates and school leavers.

Finally, we will engage more than ever with other bodies and sectors to bring change to our communities. What stood out to me from amongst the breadth and depth of achievements listed under each nominee was that, by and large, they were all working across sectors to achieve their goals. From pan-county summits bringing together the heads of all public sector agencies, to working with the third sector and Whitehall to best commission services, I think it’s clear that we in local government will need to tie these bonds ever closer in order to succeed in our objectives over the coming years.

So, if the shortlist has filled you with enthusiasm for the achievements of young people in local government, and the importance of hearing about the good work of others, in order to inform your own work, then you may be interested the Young and in Gov summer reception, which is taking place in a few weeks to celebrate exactly that (details are here, or email me for more information at


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Thoughts, reflections and ruminations from the BDOlocalgov team. We don't always agree with each other. We'd love to hear what you think.


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