New book: Public Service workforce of the future

It has been a number of years in the making but our (me, Catherine Needham, Catherine Mangan & Helen Sullivan) edited book Reimagining the Future Public Service Workforce has just been published by Springer.   This book investigates the professional needs and training requirements of an ever-changing public service workforce in Australia and the United Kingdom. It explores the nature of future roles, the types of skills and competencies that will be required and how organisations might recruit, train and develop public servants for these roles.

The book draws on leading international research and practitioners also make recommendations for how local organisations can equip future public servants with the skills and professional capacities for these shifting professional demands, and the skillsets they will require.

Drawing on ideas that have been developed in the Australian and UK context, the book delves into the major themes involved in re-imagining the public service workforce and the various forms of capacities and capabilities that this entails. It then explores delivery of this future vision, and its implications in terms of development, recruitment and strategy.

Stay tuned for news of a book launch!


Some recent and not so recent pieces

In this post I summarise some of the various pieces I have authored or co-authored in this research programme over the last few years.

In 2012 Catherine Needham and I chaired a roundtable on the idea of the 21st century public servant under the auspices of the Public Service Academy at the University of Birmingham.  You can find the summary of the discussion here


Shortly before moving to Melbourne Catherine Needham and I won some funds from the ESRC to form a knowledge partnership with Birmingham City Council.  When I left the UK I handed over my part of the project to Catherine Mangan but did stay involve in a less formal capacity.  You can find the review of the literature that the three of us did here and which sets out 8 lessons about the future public service workforce.

21c lessons from the lit

Helen Sullivan and I conducted a research project interviewing about 30 individuals in total to try and get a better handle on what the future Australian public servant workforce might look like and the steps needed to achieve this.  This followed up from a discussion paper that Helen did with Maria Katsonis of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet (you can access this here).  The final report of the research by Helen and I can be found here.  Below there is a picture of Helen, myself, Maria and Sir Gus O’Donnell at the launch of this work.

21cps launch

The report from the Birmingham research can be found here.    Below is one of the great illustrations that the Birmingham team commissioned to illustrate their research.

21cps illustration

In addition to these reports a number of pieces have also appeared in public service magazines like The Mandarin or newspapers.  I have put links to these below. 

21st century public service: changing education and recruitmentThe Mandarin, 13thJanuary 2015.

21st century public service: shared vision needed for ‘softer’ skillsThe Mandarin, 17thDecember, 2014.

The 21st century public service: are we ready for the change needed?  The Mandarin, 8thDecember, 2014

Creating the 21st century public servant: emerging from identity crisisThe Mandarin14th July,2014

The 21st-century public servant needs new skillsGuardian Society, 1st May 2013

The making of the 21st century public servantGuardian Professional, 22nd November 2012.