Reimagining Public Service

Kit Collingwood-Richardson

Kit Collingwood
3 min readOct 6, 2017


This post discusses the upcoming Reimagining Public Service event happening in London on 20 October, and invites you to give your views.

The public sector is facing some unprecedented challenges. Continuing financial pressure, Brexit, a unique political climate and the increasing opportunity for efficiency offered by new technology mean that our sector, and the Civil Service within it, is working in conditions never seen before.

Be curious, calm and positive

In these uncertain times, it is still possible to thrive and use unique chances to make paradigm shifts in how we work. To do so we must harness the best of ourselves: our creativity, our passion, our commitment and our resilience.

My experience is that this can only succeed if we work together, build new relationships and constantly strive to increase our own horizons and perspectives, listening hard to our colleagues and service users. We also need the kind of leadership which is at its best in adversity — curious, calm and positive.

To figure out how we do this, we need to create space to discuss our challenges, to be creative about how we face them — to rethink what public service means to us all for the future.

An opportunity to do things a little differently

That’s why we’ve organised an event on 20 October to do just this; we’ve called it Reimagining Public Service, to reflect how widely we want to think. The event is unique in a few ways: firstly, it brings together over a hundred of our Permanent Secretaries and Directors General, aka the Civil Service Leadership Group, with a group of attendees from across grades, departments and the wider public sector, to create ideas together. This has never been done on this scale.

Secondly, it’s an unconference (you can read Clare Moriarty’s blogpost about the joy of unconferencing here). This is an event where the agenda is created by attendees on the day via a series of idea ‘pitches’ done in the morning, and then unfolded in a series of sessions through the day. For our event, we’ll have 32 discussion sessions, meaning that 32 of our best ideas will be the output from the day — as well as the wider conversation and new relationships the event will trigger.

And lastly, the event is a collaboration between the Civil Service Leadership Academy, whose aim is to create excellence in civil service leadership, and the One Team Government community, whose aim is to bring together disparate groups and professions to take practical action for government reform. As someone with a keen interest in both, I’m delighted to be facilitating on the day.

Give us your thoughts

We’d like to hear from you about this. If you’re attending the event and would like to know more, or if you’re not attending but have ideas you’d like our current and future senior leaders to discuss on the day, please get in touch via, or on Twitter @OneTeamGov or @CSLeaderAcademy. You can also follow the hashtag #Reimagine2017 before and on the day.

We’ll be taking actions and notes from all the sessions on the day, and we’ll be publishing what we’re taking forward after the event.



Kit Collingwood

Leading digital, data, tech and customer service at Royal Borough of Greenwich. Thoughts on leadership, inclusion and better services. Compulsive optimist.