It's a subject I know a bit about and have practical experience with and I used to care about it deeply. Ten years ago I would have been chipping in there like a terrier, chasing every key issue like it was a rat smeared with aniseed. I would have had a note book filled with ideas and cross-references to pieces of work we were already doing, with notes to try and connect the players involved. My notes for the morning are:
Possibly? See if Jim knows about this one.
no, but we should
bollocks to that one matey
check emails from C___________
the next person who mentions 'channel shift' will be required to provide a definition
Which isn't inspiring.
Looking round the table I felt yet more old and tired and jaded. There were but a couple of us left in middle age. We nodded over coffee and compared battle scars. The enthusiasm of youth around the table was uninfectious. Earnest and knowledgeable enough, all freshly-scrubbed and with clean collars and brand new Helix pencil cases (though I noticed that one girl from the Strategic Management Support Team had 'I love PRINCE2' scrawled in biro on hers). I wondered if I weren't becoming even more jaded than I pretend to be. Perhaps I am. Perhaps. More dispiriting is the realisation that for all the talk about customer engagement and performance and delivery the major change in local government over the past twenty years has been a shift of focus away from the services we provide towards the processes of the ticking of boxes. All the talk this morning was about the machinery of bureaucracy and the needs of the machine.
You might like to bear this in mind some time when you're really in a hurry and the person serving you has to break off, answer the 'phone and ignore you awhile so as to meet the council's mystery shopper response time targets.