24 April 2011

Is this non-job #3 ? "Change & Innovation Manager" in E&O

This is the first in a series of non-job blogs ( the first 2 were of course April Fools' jokes )

You might need a double espresso to keep you going until the end of this rather long blog. Its not my fault, its all the Barnet OneSpeak twaddle.

So this post was created in March 2010 on a salary scale of £47,550 to £50,913. You can read the full Role Profile here.

I question why the post was created given that OneBarnet plans to out-source most things ?

It looks like a Herculean task to me. Let us just consider the "purpose of the job" as set out in the Role Profile with my comments added in red:-

The post holder will advise the Strategic Management Board on how to lead the E&O establishment in terms of organisational change and workforce planning, and the development of an operational culture based on the highest professional values. Working closely with the Strategic Management Board and Heads of Service, the manager will be responsible for the highest level advice and support in the implementation of change and innovation throughout the sub-services that fall under E&O. ( So before this post the Strategic Management Board were all at sea ? )

The post-holder will advise the Strategic Management Board and Heads of Service on how to apply creative and innovative thinking across the Council’s E&O service functions. This work will include the development of new ways of working in terms of service planning/delivery and new policies and procedures. In addition, the post-holder will help create new services and functions as well as significantly change existing services and functions within E&O. ( Once everything has been privatised this job will be the ultimate non-job and if I was the office holder I would be looking for a new job )

To lead in the delivery of the system thinking interventions and develop creative and innovative solutions to all aspects of the change and improvement restructuring project. (system thinking interventions - who makes up this guff ?)

If you can stand it, take a read of the Role Specific Responsibilities ( or skip to the end )

Lead for advising the management teams on how to ensure that Environment & Operations’ business systems are fit for current and future service needs (natch)

Advise the relevant senior manager on how to lead change management processes across the Directorate in a collaborative and consultative style with both internal staff and external stakeholders ( don't senior managers know about this stuff ? )

Acting as a catalyst for change through innovation and challenge, help senior managers create development strategies that enable the service to deliver its vision through the creation of a shared sense of purpose and an environment, which motivates and develops skills and transforms the management and quality of E&O service areas. ( do senior managers need a catalyst to get them moving ?)

Lead on the Directorate’s Communication Strategy and its delivery internally and externally ( how many communications people do Barnet need? There's an Assistant Director of this in the Chief Executives Department with 13 people reporting to him ).

Assist the directorate in developing and co-ordinating a transformation programme, which is to be delivered by Heads of Service.  ( Do as you are told ? )

• Undertake both primary and secondary research, apply analytical thinking, draw references and conclusions, which convert into change proposals for E&O services. ( Find justification for the planned privatisations ?)

Advise the Service Director and other appropriate officers on relevant issues relating to the transformation project to ensure compliance with the Council’s statutory duties.

Lead the process of creating the Council’s annual improvement plan, articulating E&O’s priorities for change, improvement, innovation and transformation. ( Isn't change another word for transformation ? )

Provide project management assistance to Heads of Service on best value reviews and monitor implementation of best value action plans. ( Best value ? Discuss in-built bias ? )

Lead on the review of quality systems and procedures throughout E&O service areas and in establishing new arrangement including subsequent auditing & monitoring. ( Monitoring, Barnet ? MetPro to you ! )

Lead E&O’s development of appropriate management information to assist Heads of Service in creatively planning and delivering their sub-services efficiently and effectively. ( Was the word standard omitted after sub ? )

Research, disseminate and apply innovative ideas and practices across E&O services, helping senior managers create new services and functions as well as significantly changing existing services and functions To make recommendations on new processes and improvements to existing processes and agree them with the Director of E&O. ( Yeah, great )

Now let's take a look at what the incumbent Mr Jonathan Tunde-Wright thinks. Not the shy and retiring type, he has a personal website. I have cut and paste from it.

I believe in Government but I also believe in community and accountability.
I believe in the wisdom of crowds but also recognise the insanity of the mob
I believe in an empowered networked society shaping its own direction and destiny;  but I also believe in strong and visionary leadership.
I believe in transparency and engagement but also recognise selfish ambitions and agendas.
I believe the workforce of any organisation (at all tiers) is its greatest asset and should be treated and utilised as such.
I believe in the power and importance of emotional intelligence.
I believe a vast majority of UK public sector workers are a noble and hard working breed.
I am persuaded that organisational culture eats strategy breakfast. ( what the f*ck ! )
I believe that true change and innovation stems from organic, grassroot and collaborative effort. ( grassroots, pl )
I believe in the power & potential of social media as a revolutionary concept .
I am a part-time PG student at the Warwick Business School (Masters in  Public Administration) 

I believe you should be thrown out on your ear and £50,000 saved. - MrMustard

I will leave you to form your own opinions about all that guff and if you can stand it you can find more on his website here 

If only Barnet would use Plain English we might understand what they were doing ?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. sorry to be a pain, but "systems thinking" is a real thing in the world of industrial processes, software development, service delivery and other disciplines.

    sure, there is also a lot of bollocks and empty neologising in this job spec, but i'm having a hard time differentiating your critique from the Richard Littlejohn school of youcouldntmakeitupism. it could be that simply by not understanding the terminology being used - understandably, if you work in a different field - you then use this ignorance as a justification for suggesting someone who does understand them ought not to be in possession of a full-time job.

    "I am persuaded that organisational culture eats strategy breakfast."

    fair enough, anyone who says this is a wanker.

  2. Dear JonR, thank you for commenting. I did start to read about lean systems and systems thinking last week because Barnet Council appointed someone in Environment, Planning & Regeneration to do systems thinking and no qualifications or experience are required which does make one wonder. Barnet Council will play with this method for a while, they love management speak, and then move on to something else. Residents will pay for it.
    If systems thinking leads to better work practices and money saved then I am all in favour. I will go and find out what has been changed since March 2010 as a result of the above post being created.


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.