I have been a board member of the Nomad mobile and flexible working forum since 2003 and have long recognised the importance and value of Nomad in terms of promoting innovation in local government and sharing best practice. I passionately believe that mobile and flexible working is going to be critical to the future of local public service delivery.
I’m very pleased to have brokered transitional arrangements with Cambridgeshire County Council to ensure that Nomad can continue. Under new arrangements I will assume the national lead for Nomad and I’m working on proposals to develop a revised and rejuvenated programme, supporting regional groupings including Nomad Scotland.
I am particularly interested in exploring the opportunity to broaden the community to include all of the public sector.
I recently presented on local government experiences to the Department of Health and a Strategic Health Authority and was struck, for example, by the synergy and overlap between work just commencing in the NHS and our experiences in local government. The state of the public purse surely means we need to find ways of collaborating across the public sector and ‘Total Place’ may well prove to be the strategic catalyst we need here.
I also hope to take Nomad into new and emerging areas and to get closer to the leading edge of technological and social innovation.
We face challenging times and I genuinely believe that by working together we can find new and creative ways of delivering services in the future. Widespread adoption of new work styles is going to be critical to that.
The forthcoming swingeing cuts in public expenditure will mandate radical and creative thinking, including around options to deliver services across organisational and geographical boundaries. Changes of this nature will inevitably require remote access to different back offices, effective data sharing and the ability to work across these boundaries in a time efficient way. Mobile and flexible working and associated technology implementations are going to be fundamental here.
Across the wider public sector there is significant opportunity to implement new work styles. NHS community health services, for example, overlap with local authority social care services and present enormous opportunity to take a whole area approach to re-engineering service delivery. Even modest efficiency improvements in these areas could net £billions in savings and there is proven opportunity to implement mobile and flexible working solutions in these and other areas.
Nomad is well placed to support the public sector in implementing change. It seems essential that in striving to deliver efficiencies we avoid duplication of effort and take steps to ensure we share what we find works and, perhaps even more importantly, what we find doesn’t.
I am in detailed discussions with potential partners and possible sponsors and have been working hard to put Nomad on a sustainable footing. I have also given some thought to a possible future low-cost subscription service as a means to support Nomad’s future.
I would be very interested to hear from others on how you would like to see Nomad progress. Share your views and enter a draw to win an iPod Touch by completing the short mobile working survey, designed with our friends at Public Sector Forums, accessible here.
Alternatively, post comments below or get in touch directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me know how you think Nomad can help support and develop 21st century public services.
The existing website at www.nomadpublicsector.com remains accessible pending replacement with a new community site, harnessing social web functionality to support a vibrant online community of Nomads.