Performance Review: Rationalising Responsibilities

This year, I will have served 7 years on the Court of Common Council, proudly representing the Ward of Bishopsgate. It has been an honour and an enormous learning curve in both navigating the historic organisation and its complex nuances, whilst also in building relationships with businesses, residents, the livery, industry and policy makers nationally and internationally.

For many of us, performance reviews offer an important opportunity to pause and reflect on how what we are doing is helping to deliver against defined strategies. It allows us to take stock, listen to colleagues on how to improve to have the greatest possible impact. I think this is as important in public life as it is in business and therefore, I’ve spent some time having conversations and reviewing my impact over the Easter break.

As a local Councillor, you are only elected to the Court of Common Council, which meets monthly to decide on the most important business of the organisation. However, all of the ground work is done over many months in sub-committees, which you are elected to by peers, based on your skills and experience.

At the moment, as well as sitting on the Court of Common Council, I also sit on 8 Grand Committees (1 I Chair), 9 Sub Committees (5 I Chair) and that’s before any of the project boards, working groups, training sessions, constituency casework, interview panels, complaint panels, Ofsted Inspections, site visits, strategy away days or events. Chairmanship alone consumes a remarkable amount of time and effort – attending weekly meetings with senior staff, setting agendas, hosting call-over meetings and wrap-up sessions post meeting, handling urgency requests, complaints and compliments, speaking engagements, media interviews and acting as a day-to-day sounding board and scrutineer. During times of significant transformation, as has been the case over the past few years, the commitment is dialled-up further.

I believe it is also really important not to ‘bed-block’. You may have a set of skills which are really helpful at a particular point in time, but just because you’re interested or passionate about a topic, doesn’t mean you should remain on that Board or Committee indefinitely. Fresh eyes and new skills are critical for sustaining success and with lots of new blood on the Court I have decided to make some changes as we commence a new civic year in the City.

I have, therefore, tendered my resignation as a Director and Sponsor Trustee of the City of London Academies Trust (after 3 years) where I am also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee and the Finance and Operations Committee. I have resigned from the City’s Education Board (after 6 years) and the Community and Children’s Services Committee (after 7 years) where I also sit on the Safeguarding Sub Committee and the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Sub Committee.

I will continue to serve on the Policy and Resources Committee, Finance Committee (and Financial Efficiency and Performance Sub), the Natural Environment Board, West Ham Park Committee and Chair the Epping Forest and Commons Committee (as well as the Epping Forest Consultative Group, the Local Council Liaison Group, the West Wickham and Coulsdon Commons Consultative Group, Burnham Beeches Consultative Group and the Ashtead Common Consultative Group).

I’m pleased that this decision will also allow me to spend some more time on new projects. I will be working more closely with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal team to engage Bishopsgate residents and businesses to join-in this year’s City Giving Day, I will play a more active role in the City Police’s Eastern Cluster Panel focused on driving down crime in Bishopsgate and I have joined the City’s Cluster Programme Board which is part of the Streets and Walkways Sub Committee, focused on delivering public realm improvements…of which Bishopsgate needs many!

I am grateful to the many colleagues who have put their trust in me and to those members and officers who I have had the privilege to serve alongside on each governance forum. I look forward to support my replacements into their new roles in due course.

1 thought on “Performance Review: Rationalising Responsibilities

  1. Well done Ben, your great efforts are much appreciated and we are very pleased you are staying on the right committees!

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