Friday, May 27, 2016

Experiencing the Citizen-State Interface

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

I got a parking ticket this week -- and while it was a simple mistake, rectifying that mistake is almost not worth pursuing. This is one of those stories about the citizen-state interface that we can all sympathize with.

Long story short, last week I had some work done on my car and had a loaner. I have a parking pass for a lot by my work and simply changed my pass to reflect the change in vehicle. No big deal. However, when I got my car back I failed to change the pass back to my actual vehicle so I got a ticket for parking my car in the lot I pay to park it in. Now, mea culpa on not changing it back but the cost of the ticket is almost half the cost of the monthly pass (if I pay early) and more than half the cost if I pay late. So I did what any reasonable person would do and I called the city.

I will say that I was pleased with the wait time (less than 1 minute), however while the person on the other end of the phone was polite, helpful and courteous the solution offered was complete rubbish from a service delivery standpoint. That solution: show up in person to one of the designated sites, get in line, wait, and contest the ticket in person. If I can pay a ticket online, why can't I contest one? The in person requirement in a strong disincentive to contest and an equally strong incentive to pay. Something about this seems amiss, and likely sounds familiar.

That said -- and this ends the 'rant' -- the larger more general question I want to raise is why would governments make it easier to comply (even if erroneously) rather than contest (or correct) a mistake?

Do they not have a duty to ensure that both paths -- across all service offerings -- can be walked just as easily? Shouldn't they be removing barriers that disproportionately benefit the state while leaving those that would more directly benefit the citizen? Isn't good governance is about finding the compromise

After all, if we want people to see the state as more than the common stereotypes portrayed by popular media then we need to continue to improve the citizen-state interface in ways that are demonstrably meaningful to both parties. I suppose this is where user testing comes in. However, the challenge there is that while citizens are constantly user testing the state, the state is infrequently conducting user testing on its citizens.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Getting to nimble, agile, high-performing: making the case for tools

by Dan Monafu RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewaltwitter / danutfm

(Spoiler alert: this article has a happy ending; I’m writing this in Google Drive.)

I’ve recently moved to a new department. It’s not important which - let’s call it Department X.

Department X ranks pretty low on the list of departments which allow a full suite of productivity tools and cloud-based software, according to an informal comparative analysis on the issue produced mid-last year.

Having worked almost exclusively in Google Drive (for work) for the past 2 years or so, the news that all of a sudden I couldn’t work on the Drive at all was disorienting; I didn’t think it would be one of the hardest aspects of my transition to a new department. In retrospect, it makes sense: everything was on the Drive, from past work and key contacts, to future ideas and plans, to great reference materials (all unclassified information, rest assured).

Once I got to my new work place, I had informally asked some of my Department X colleagues if they could access Google Drive. I was told they know of a few people in the Department that could, having been given exemptions. In some cases, colleagues suggested getting their own exemptions is on their to do lists, but that they dreaded the amount of approvals and hassle it might cause.

Well, I’m writing with pretty good news.

In the spirit of positive policies, to help demystify a process (it can be done!), as well as to help alleviate duplicative efforts, I’m sharing below the steps I took to have Google Drive exempted from the list of restricted sites. It took about a month, and roughly 2-3 hours of my time (cumulative), but it overall wasn’t an onerous process. More than than, I believe I did my part in making a case for access to this tool, on behalf of the policy community.

If we don’t make such requests, IT professionals and senior management won’t know we need them, and won’t necessarily make the process easier. The more requests IT security receive on this (and approve), the more the process will get easier. Who knows, it might eventually become open-by-default, getting us closer to nimble, agile, and high-performing.

Below are three ‘for reference’ pieces on the process: 1) a timeline illustrating the process in detail; 2) a ‘standard lines’ template I successfully used to make the business case for the exemption; 3) yes, there are legitimate risks with using cloud-based tools (and, like everything on the internet, we need to be smart about how we used them); here are some best practices my Department passed along - it’s good stuff to keep in mind.

Let me know how it goes in your department.

Timeline illustrating the process

April 4, 2016: Opened service ticket with the Service Desk
April 11, 2016: Opened new service ticket (this time with the correct group, IT Architecture Security)
April 11, 2016: Received response, which outlined the process (see screengrab below)


April 21, 2016: Received Director-level signed approval
April 25, 2016: Request reviewed by Departmental Security (note: some follow-ups were required regarding the type of information I would be sharing; my answer: everything will be unclassified)
April 26, 2016: Request moved for approval to Director-level Departmental Security
April 27, 2016: Request moved to Shared Services Canada (SSC) for testing; once testing was to be complete, the request was to return to the Departmental Security Office for Director-level approval; the request was then to go back to SSC, who was to whitelist the internet protocol (IP) address, granting approval
April 28, 2016: The request for Google Drive was approved. Note: I had also requested access to under the same form. This was denied; with the following reason provided:“While not a threat at the moment, please note was hacked back in Feb 2015 and users’ data was compromised, including mail addresses, usernames, encrypted passwords, and, in some cases, phone numbers and associated Skype IDs. Since then a 2-factor authentication was implemented to their service.”
May 2, 2016: Configuration completed. I could access Google Drive.

‘Standard lines’ business rationale

Website name and/or URL: Google Drive -; Slack -

Business rationale and the justification
XXX (name) is the XXX (role) on the XXX (team) within XXX (department). As such, he is required to participate in various working groups and interdepartmental committee meetings that conduct regular business predominantly through the two online productivity platforms mentioned above, Google Drive and Slack.
For example, XXX (name) participates in a weekly call with the XXX (group) – agenda items, as well as all discussion materials, are only shared through Google Drive.
Moreover, that same group has a Slack channel, where important real-time information is exchanged, in particular during quick turnaround requests for input from groups such as XXX (group).
The policy innovation community within the federal government embraces openness, transparency and co-creation as core principles. Use of productivity tools such as Google Drive and Slack is fully supported through TBS directives (see the 2013 Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use: as well as in principle through aspirational statements and high-level direction given through the Clerk of the Privy Council (e.g. Destination 2020; Blueprint 2020 (

What other risk options/alternatives were considered and/or dismissed as part of this request?
No other options/alternatives were considered given the need to use these particular productivity tools.

What steps will be taken to adopt a lower risk option?

What is the impact to the Department if the exception is not granted?
The Department will not be able to participate and engage in the work of the groups involved.
The Department’s input in various co-created materials will not be taken into consideration, resulting in potential loss of ability to support core mandate functions.
The Department will not be able to use current best practices (e.g. co-creation) when designing policy, with far-reaching negative consequences (e.g. from loss of productivity, to loss of talent in its workforce, etc.).

Please provide the specific period of time you require the access.

IT best-practices when using cloud-based services

As you will be accessing a Personal Network Site, please understand the risks involved with this practice. Once the information leaves our network, it is in the hands of the service provider.  In the case of free services, this risk is increased as the provider typically relies on mining this information to support advertising and other commercial activities. If such a service is used, we recommend the following best cyber security practices:

  • Service providers have the option of auto-saving your passwords on their websites. Don’t auto-save your passwords. Always use the two factor authentication on account(s) provided by your service provider.
  • Do use hard-to-guess passwords.
  • Your approved website(s) has embedded advertisement links. DON’T click on links from an unknown or untrusted source. Cyber attackers often use them to trick you into visiting malicious sites and downloading malware that can be used to steal data and damage networks.
  • Remember that information sent over the Internet, via email or from a Personal Network Storage service provider has few privacy protections. Messages/information can be forwarded, be posted on public forums and can remain accessible on the Internet forever.
  • Not everything belongs in the Personal Network Storage Cloud. Remove information that does not need to be in in your Personal Network Storage
  • Do use good judgement when posting information on social media platforms for both privacy and cyber security reasons.
  • DO lock your work device when not in use. This protects data from unauthorized access and use.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Once you have finished, ensure you exit the session properly as leaving the session open can expose hackers to your credentials and account.
  • Report any suspected security incidents to your Service Desk.
  • Autocomplete is a common feature found on most email software. If your application uses the autocomplete feature, make sure that you are sending information to the right person.
  • Ensure that any business information posted/shared has been approved for release, and carefully consider the information you post concerning your job duties.
  • Know the classification level of the information being shared and ensure you follow the Classification Guide for Handling Information and Required Safeguards. A reminder that Protected B information MUST be encrypted and sent only to approved recipients.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Poetry of Public Service

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

Sometimes you just have to mix it up a little. Here's a poem by my friend and colleague Lauren Hunter. Enjoy!

Rebel Song to the Public Service

You will not find us where you expect.
You cannot summon us, contain us or will us to conform.
We are difficult, unruly, unpredictable.
But we are here for you,
Even if what we are and what we bring is not what you would think to ask for.

We travel paths you have overlooked and bring back treasures to lay at your feet.
We fall from mountains you avoid to find a safer line for you to climb.
We take hits on the frontline to clear an unobstructed path for you.
We build houses we do not stay to use.

You see, we never set out to create these things for ourselves.
Wild hearts need a calling
And with all roads before us, we have chosen you as our compass.
We strive to do great deeds for you
(Even, and perhaps especially, when you do not ask us to)
Rather than the easier alternative.

For there is no goal more worthy of the rebel soul than freedom,
And freedom is nothing if we only win it for ourselves.

We lay our works and hearts before you,
Edgy and uncouth, disruptive but deeply loyal,
In the service of a greater democracy
Because you are sworn to safeguard it.
We give what we are to you
So you can give everything to it.

Beware that you succeed in taming us.
Making us like you until we are no longer any use to you.
Because what we are is needed.

Without us, you would remain as you are now,

We will stay with you
As long as we have the will to keep taking down the fences you put in front of us,
Strength in our legs to get back up when you knock us down.
And when we leave, others will rise up to take our places.

Long after, when the wounds we give each other have healed,
You will call us visionaries and leaders.
You will tell the stories of our rebel deeds with pride, natural as breathing,
As a part of you.

But we would trade all future praise,
For you to see us now
And value us now, as we are.
For a chance to walk this path together.

We are yours,
But we could serve you better
If we didn’t have to spend so much time walking in from the margins,
If we could build great works for you and with you,
Without having to hold one arm up to shield us as we work.

We do not ask for what you fear.
All we want is for you to understand
There are enough barriers to overcome in the service of the greater good
Without those you build to slow us down.

Maybe, just maybe,
You could bring us in from the cold
By giving us a little space by the fire.
Could we not, each of us, learn to do this better
Working together?

Friday, May 6, 2016

On Tri-Sectoral Athletes

by Nick Charney RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Nick Charneytwitter / nickcharneygovloop / nickcharneyGoogle+ / nickcharney

Two week's ago at the Driving Innovation: Positive Policies, Instruments and Experimentation armchair discussion at the Canada School moderator Ailish Campbell spoke about the need for a more permeable membrane between the civil service and other sectors; the premise being that we need a diverse set of skills and perspectives if we are to make progress against societies wicked problems. Its an issue that her and I have spoken about in the past, and while its one that's both near to her heart (See: Government from Outside-In) and mine (See: Are Public Servants Interchangeable?) it's also something I haven't heard being discussed much in the current context of overlapping venn diagram that is policy innovation, experimentation and results (deliverology). While I wholeheartedly agree that we need the right talent mix, training and transfers (See Ailish's Lessons from Cross-Sector Experiences) we also need a culture that values -- or perhaps even puts a premium on -- experience outside the civil service.

Enter Tri-Sector Athletes

Back in 2013 Harvard Business Review ran a couple of articles the importance "tri-sector athletes", people who can bridge the chasms of culture, incentives, and purpose that separate the three sectors (See: Triple Strength Leadership and Why the World Needs Tri-Sector Leaders). The articles argued that cross sector mobility promoted the development of a number of specific skills (i.e. balancing competing motives, acquiring transferable skills, developing contextual intelligence, forging a common intellectual thread, building integrated networks, and maintaining a prepared mind) and advocated lowering cultural and structural barriers that inhibit cross-sector mobility for early, mid and senior career professionals. The articles seem to have come out of the work of the Intersector Project which tries to bring together the three different sectors to solve problems that no single sector can do alone; which to me sounds a lot like where good governance meets wicked problems (See: On Wicked Problems).

Rather than rehash any of whats covered in the above, I'd like to share a snippet from a speech given by the Honourable Michael Wilson's in 2011 at the Richard Ivey School of Business (at Western).The speech, entitled The Tri-Athlete: The importance of Private, Public and Not-for-Profit Sector speaks more directly to the issue with a conviction of experience that I can only hope to accumulate:

"There is a concept discussed in the Harvard Business Review called ‘Shared Value’ wherein business decisions serve the public and shareholder interest alike. One major global company in India reduced its demands on the public water supply. This forced itself to be creative in its production process which saved the company money, sustained output and lessened demand on limited natural resources of the country. The result, shared value for the country, the community and the company.

Governments must conduct policies in a way, which takes into account the interests of the private sector. Tax policy must not be overbearing and must provide incentives where possible. Private sector delivery of government services should be used if this does not conflict with the public interest. Regulations must find the right balance between protecting the public interest while not interfering excessively with the operations and natural strengths of the private sector.

It is in this world that tri-athletes become very important. People with knowledge, sensitivity and a broader sense of values that comes from deep engagement on both sides of the private/public divide and experience in the not-for-profit world can make a more substantial contribution to the broad public good.

Now, have I forgotten about the part that the not-for-profit sector would play in this world? Not at all. In many ways, not-for-profit leaders are the conduit or even the glue between the private and public sectors. This is particularly the case in healthcare, social issues, research activities, education and the delivery of services that are typically a government responsibility. The public/private partnership model is a primary example of this as it relates to hospitals, highways, correction centres, and others.

But I think the most important outcome of the broad concept of the tri-athlete is the softening of the edges among the three sectors. With broader and deeper engagement comes greater understanding. That greater understanding leads to a more sensitive and broader set of values in all three sectors that breeds a stronger sense of community within the country."

The key takeaway: the success of each of the sectors is tied directly to the health of relationships between them. Moreover, understanding these relationships in a visceral way is an asset when you are looking to engage with a broader community. And, if you haven't noticed, engagement is the new normal.

Enter Digital

The role of social media in this respect (engagement) was also discussed at the armchair. For those of us who have been operating in that space for some time now the conversation wasn't new. To wit, a friend of my sent me a private message on Twitter that questioned an organizational culture that allots scarce resources to what could otherwise be considered transient communications (e.g. DM approval for a single tweet). Their point was clear: institutionally we have more important things to worry about in an age of complexity and wicked problems. We ought to be more concerned with creating shared/public value than 140 character phraseology. For example, by now we've all read a lot about how our Westminster system of parliament is under tremendous pressure in the digital era, that "government no longer has the monopoly" on advice and/or service. I myself have said as much on stage, in front of a couple hundred public servants in Ontario (See: The Future of Policy Work).

However, the more I think about it the less I'm inclined to agree wholeheartedly. I actually think that government continues to enjoy is nodality (i.e. being at the centre of a network of actors or information) but hasn't been able to wield it as effectively in the digital era as it did in the analogue era. This may be a small nuance, but its an incredibly important one. After all, government's convening power is still rooted in the fundamental idea that government is the ultimate societal back stop, that its our last line of defense when things really go sideways. If you agree -- the nuance that government continues to enjoy nodality but cannot always wield it effectively in the digital era -- then you might logically be interested in building capacity where digital technologies are meeting governance issues (e.g. sharing economy). But in order to do that effectively you need a workforce that can see the issues from all of the perspectives (i.e. sharing economy is an incredibly complex societal issue that has implications for actors all three sectors) but also one that have quickly engage in these broader networks. Hitting the ground running likely means proficiency with social media. It means being able to quickly identify key players, make contact and set up more in depth and detailed exchanges. I can appreciate that there's a palpable feeling in town that the civil service is making gains on this but we haven't really blown that door wide open yet.

Truthfully, there is still a lot of apprehension at the working level (i.e. where managers and working level people meet) about networking across sectors and even more about connecting in open online fora. One only need to look at Kent's post earlier this week (See: Bursting the Filter Bubble) -- where he detailed his reticence to claim even a loose affiliation to his official duties online and even more importantly participate in an event as a representative of the government -- to find evidence of this. If I had to put money down I'd say that the reticence he felt is both lingering and pervasive in the system right now; this is troubling, especially given that Kent's risk tolerance is likely greater than most (i.e. he has been writing publicly on these issues for some time now). In the absence of distinct and clear government wide positive policy statements we are relying on some amalgam of the risk tolerance of individuals (who's perception of risk was forged under the previous administration) and trickle down effects of the subsequent change in political tone. Both of which are unevenly distributed across the system and cannot be relied upon to address our larger culture issues (See: On Risk, Fearless Advice and Loyal Implementation).

Enter Personal Anecdote(s)

Now, my evidence may be anecdotal but I've entertained a number of conversations recently with new public servants who are coming into very junior positions despite a wealth of experience outside government (i.e. not recent graduates). These are bright folks who's employment history began well before they accepted their letter of offer. Their entrance into the fray however is stymied in part by the widespread -- but not overt or malicious -- cultural practice of discounting non-government experience and a reticence (perceived and self-imposed or explicit and imposed) to "allow" them to reach out beyond the internal workings of government; effectively cutting them off from the networks they had prior to joining, networks that Wilson (above) argued were so important. In other words, not only are we discounting their work experience but also asking them to cut ties with the players with whom they did it. This runs counter-intuitive to the entire notion of tri-sector athletes. But really how pervasive is it?

Its hard to say for certain but you can look at some indicators that may hint and/or reinforce the culture. For example, I pulled a random posting for a government job and flipped through it. Notice that it narrowly defines an experiential requirement as "providing advice to senior management at the Director-General level or higher on ...". My question: what if someone has significant experience performing similar work but their organization doesn't have "Directors General"? I doubt it would be difficult to find someone who was otherwise qualified but who was screened out based on a similar technicality alone (in fact I've spoke to a few in similar situations) Conversely, if we took a random sample of resumés from civil servants I wonder how many would include experience outside the civil service? Probably not many, or at least not as many as we'd like if we are sympathetic to the importance of tri-sector athletes. I don't want to dwell on this too much but am generally of the view that the cultural practice of discounting problematic and that it manifests both as a demand side (e.g. in job posters) and supply side (e.g. resumés) issue.

I'm as guilty as the next on this front (at least on the supply side). With the exception of the two-year interchange I just completed with the Institute on Governance, I've left off any experience that precedes my government experience off my resumé, despite having worked for a good 8 years in front line service delivery positions in the hospitality industry for premium brands (e.g. Fairmont and the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club) working directly with the organizations' most important corporate clients. Along the way I dealt with a number of challenging relationships and had the opportunity to manage people, budgets, and facility operations. Yet, I've purposefully left that experience off my resumé because it doesn't necessarily show my "public policy chops". However if you pause and think about it, the experience is inherently valuable if you want to better understand how the public policy rubber meets the deliver(olog)y road. I remember being in an interview a while back trying to explain to a Director General why I had written that I was a mid-career professional on my resumé when I only had 8 years of government experience. They simply didn't value the 10 years I worked prior to joining government, nor did it matter that I was able to work full time while pursuing my academic degrees and starting my family (but that's besides the point).

While I may have omitted the experience from my resumé and -- to be perfectly honest -- no longer describe myself as mid-career, the truth of the matter is that those cumulative work experiences were formative. They were when I first started, and they remain as such even today. I remember a very early conversation I had with a friend and colleague about public service renewal back when Kevin Lynch was the Clerk of Privy Council. I was trying to explain that one of the things that I felt was missing in the public service was the empowerment culture and sense agency that was so critical to success in the service industry. My sense at the time was that folks in government just didn't feel empowered or able to act without first seeking permission. That difference very much became a source of inspiration for my work, my foray into the online world (e.g. this blog) and ultimately informed the advice in Scheming Virtuously: A Handbook for Public Servants. To discount it simply because it happened before my time in government would be to discount all the positive that has become of it is since I joined government, and that is something that I am unwilling to do.

I'm also of the opinion that my experience on interchange -- leaving the public service for two years, then coming back -- was also invaluable. Not only was I able to pursue interests that I wouldn't have been able to pursue inside the civil service but I was also able to better appreciate the cultural distance the civil service traveled as an institution while I was away than I would have been if I stayed. While on interchange I got a better sense of what government relations work is like, learned how to work with different institutional players and expanded my network in ways that would have otherwise not been possible. I was also able to shift much of my attention from immediate operational requirements to bigger picture questions about the future of governance in Canada. That said, I feel as though I was literally frozen in time while I was away. There was little to no contact with my department when I was away and no re-integration plan. We (myself and the two organizations involved) definitely could have definitely levered the opportunity better, but we didn't. If I didn't find an opportunity to come back to a different job my own I would have slid right back into the job I left two years prior. If that's not a strong signal of how the system sees outside experience (and/or reintegration), I'm not sure what is.

NB: I'm not complaining and there's no sour grapes. I'm pretty happy about how it all shook out, my point is that maybe we shouldn't rely on luck and serendipity that as a strategy. You might also be interested in reading Emerging Models of Leadership: PBOs and Tri-Sector Leaders.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bursting the Filter Bubble

by Kent Aitken RSS / cpsrenewalFacebook / cpsrenewalLinkedIn / Kent Aitkentwitter / kentdaitkengovloop / KentAitken

Let’s start with a Twitter essay from Matt Bailey, DC’s former Director of Tech Innovation who just left for the White House:

(1/n) ..There are so many great people in DC government who want to hear from you. Sometimes they don't know how to find you. Seek them out.
— Matt Bailey (@MattBailey0) April 29, 2016

(2/n) ..There are a *lot* of times when public input really makes a difference in the decisions that get made. More voices are needed.
— Matt Bailey (@MattBailey0) April 29, 2016

(3a/n) ..A lot of govfolks have no idea that the public cares about they do - they think it's too nerdy, too esoteric, etc..
— Matt Bailey (@MattBailey0) April 29, 2016

(3b/n) .. and the pure joy on their faces when they find out the contrary is a thing to see <3 <3 <3
— Matt Bailey (@MattBailey0) April 29, 2016

(12/n) ..The old model of limiting public interactions to senior and communications officials is deeply broken.
— Matt Bailey (@MattBailey0) April 29, 2016

(12a/n) ..Government needs to remunerate/incentivize employees to attend after hours public events.
— Matt Bailey (@MattBailey0) April 29, 2016

(12b/n) ..People deserve to be paid for their time and this is a core competency of government.
— Matt Bailey (@MattBailey0) April 29, 2016

I caught that string of tweets on the train back to Ottawa from Toronto. I had facilitated a lunch workshop for the Government of Canada’s next open government plan, latching onto the National Youth Leadership and Innovation Strategy Summit who graciously included us in the event.

The weird thing is that I’m slightly uncomfortable pressing “Publish” on that last paragraph. I’m hesitant about the idea that I was there representing the Government of Canada. But there’s no two ways about it, as far as the participants were concerned. I was. And a lot of us represent the government, directly or indirectly, on a daily basis.

And we have to get used to it. I agree with Matt Bailey about the value of public servants interacting with the public. For the Summit I could have left after lunch, but I chose to get the latest train possible back to Ottawa (rolling in around midnight) so I could spend more time with the participants. Here’s the breakdown of my afternoon, after my "official" duties were done:

  • I think I corrected a lot of misconceptions about how far along government was. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on in gov that’s well-known to public servants and completely opaque to the public.
  • I had a string of “3b/n” moment (I’m very lucky to have them regularly). Indelicately put: hearing from people who genuinely care about the work that you’re doing in gov really, really makes you want to work your ass off.
  • I had opportunities to get clarity on what the stakeholders of my program really need and care about.
  • I met some fascinating people who could turn into future collaborators.
  • I’d like to think I helped people understand the ways in which they can influence government, and provided some reassurance that government is actually influenceable.
  • ...and that government is, well, human.
That is, it was positive to the point where I’m actually legit worried about what we’re not at. Where our presence is missing and our voices are absent. How much opportunity for understanding, collaboration, and inspiration are we missing?

On that note. Thinking about the public service/public relationship, here’s a couple recent articles. First, a TVO piece summing up a point that former Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters has been making lately:

"Sometimes we send the strangest signals to the people who work in the public service. In the best of all worlds, here’s what we want from them: We want them to be brilliant. We want them to be much less bureaucratic and much more creative. We want them to serve us better, find solutions to our problems, and explore new ideas that could help save us money. But woe betide a single one of them if they ever experiment with a new idea that goes south, then costs the taxpayers money. In that case, we’ll be the first to string them up in the town square and shame them from here to eternity."

And this, on public servants becoming increasingly public:

"Does it in fact matter if civil service leaders become more public figures than they have previously? I argue that the reason these changes matter is because the traditional anonymity of civil servants is linked in important ways to the impartiality of the civil service. To dispense with the former is to endanger the latter in ways that re-shape the core role of civil service leaders in a Westminster system."

...At which point I'm going to let the post hang, and I welcome your thoughts.