A lesson in leadership from Leeds leaders – Communications, Part 2

A leaders' meeting - an artist's impression

There was supposed to be a meeting yesterday of the leaders of something called the Leeds City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

Who?

It’s a committee (or board as they call it) made up of Council leaders from Yorkshire local authorities plus selected top business leaders, other leading public servants and leading social entrepreneurs and leading academics. Not to put too fine a point on it, they are our leaders.

Leaders breakfast round table - an artist's impression

And what do these leaders do?

Well, they take the lead and make decisions and plans on our behalf about lots of the big stuff – strategy, funding, investment, planning and commissioning of economic development and regeneration activities.

On behalf of ALL of us – from Ripon to Pontefract, from Skipton to Barnsley and all points in between.

So what did these leaders discuss yesterday?

Who knows? We don’t even know if they met. The meetings of this public-private board are held in private. No agenda got published.

When will we get to find out what they talked about (the minutes of the meeting)?

Who knows? As Toyah Wilcox used to say, “It’s a mystery”.

Equally rubbish

As you can see from an earlier rant (that was ignored as comprehensively as this one’s going to be), it’s not an isolated case.

And, to be fair, the Leeds City Region with its myriad inscrutable boards is no worse at communicating with the public than our other public-private partnership leadership organisation, the Leeds Initiative and its myriad inscrutable boards. That is, they’re equally rubbish.

Now I’m sure all the people involved are very nice (and kind to animals) and don’t really hold us in contempt. It’ll be that they’re really up against it. They’ll be understaffed and under-resourced and with tiny communications teams that are struggling with ancient, crap public sector websites…blah-de-blah.

But the fact that communicating with the public (who they’re  supposed to be leading) is so low on their agenda (well, it would be if we ever saw one) speaks volumes about them as leaders – and what they understand leadership to entail.

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3 Responses to A lesson in leadership from Leeds leaders – Communications, Part 2

  1. Mike Chitty says:

    Not sure if yesterday’s meeting went ahead, but previous agendas and minutes are published here: http://www.leedscityregion.gov.uk/content.aspx?id=1716

  2. Thanks, Mike. It’s a page I’ve visited more times than I care to admit.

    Can’t see what their problem is with publishing agendas ahead of LEP meetings and minutes within a specified time-frame after (like LCC to their credit do for all their meetings). For an organisation with hefty public involvement and (we’re told) increasing decision-making powers, it’s a creepily old-school approach to accountability and transparency, which I guess must come from the private sector people on the board, who aren’t used to any form of public scrutiny.

    And it’s not that they can’t publish the agendas ahead of the meetings (three key strokes is all it would take), it’s that they won’t.

    Here’s their policy for what it’s worth as told to me by the their comms officer:

    “As mentioned in previous correspondence some meetings are taking place in private whilst others such as the Leaders Board are open to the public and as such details can be made available online prior to the meeting. As mentioned earlier the LEP Board will be publishing its papers as soon as possible after the meeting and where possible we will be publishing the agendas and minutes of supporting panels.”

  3. Mike Chitty says:

    would have loved to have seen the debate about where the enterprise zone was to be put….

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