Hello PPMA members and friends

Following last week’s election and the subsequent forming of our new Labour Government, our President Pam Parkes outlines her initial thoughts as the dust starts to settle.

I must confess that I am an election fan! I love the excitement of it all, the build up to the day, the rough and tumble of the debate, the ritual of in person voting, the anxious wait for the exit poll, emotional declaration speeches and then the “hindsight” post analysis. I was glued to the news channels, social media and responding to a variety friends and family WhatsApp groups well into the small hours.

No matter how you voted or whether you did not vote, the outcome is here and we will all have to live with it, as it affects us all. We have a new Labour Government, and no one really knows how this administration will perform, only time will tell, but I would like to start with a “glass half full” perspective, so let me build on the positives first.

The new prime minister says, “Public service is a privilege, and we are here to serve.” I can agree with that. So, the first positive I can get behind, greater transparency, ethical governance, and citizen centred services. Let us get back to operating closer to the Nolan Principles and using this as our guide for decision making. I hope for more “servant leadership,” I do not see anything wrong with authenticity, effective communication, integrity, compassion, empowerment, continuous improvement and putting others first.

I believe that representation matters, so I cheered and whooped to see a record eleven women with senior office in the new cabinet including the first female Chancellor of the Exchequer. Not just making up the numbers, these are women with experience, qualifications, skill, passion, and drive. I hope for a much-improved system to protect their personal safety and I hope their individual and collective representation gives us the better government and informed decision making.

I have had my fill of grandiose ideas unfulfilled – I can live with under promising and over delivery. Delivery is the key to trust and advocacy. There was a promise of delivery, so for me this is the right time to manage our expectations at the beginning of a new administration. Some of us will not like this, many of us will be impatient and even more incredulous, but only a relentless focus on prioritisation, planning and execution will change this. I hope for delivery, I am happy to reserve my judgement until then.

There is discussion of a revised UK industrial strategy, this is good news. An opportunity to galvanise the respective sectors to collaborate in building the workforce for the future and a stable economy. I hope for a clearer pathway in UK skills development and job creation leading to meaningful work and tangible careers that support self-determination, self-respect, and purpose. I want to lean in and for the Public Sector to lean in, to do its fair share of the thinking in its construction. We represent over 17% of the UK workforce and are of course a critical component of UK infrastructure. So Public Sector colleagues now is the time to speak up and sharpen your pencil as there is work to do here.

I will end where I started, with my fascination with elections and democracy with all its flaws. Could my final positive be that we have a more diverse opposition? It is not perfect by any means, but it is a start. It will be interesting to see if this collection of diverse views in opposition brings better government. Will we see more collaboration and cross party working on the things that really matter to us all? Dissenting and challenging views can be a force for good if it results in well thought through policy and decision making.

I remain hopeful.

Pam Parkes

PPMA President