By Sophie Coles

In my last blog, I touched on my frustration around system wastage and the need for radical, fresh thinking, challenging and reshaping systems, organisational culture change, challenging the way things are usually done, and how these are all fundamental to sustainable delivery of public services.

It’s fair to say that I am obsessed with the pursuit of better practices in public sector.

I have always had a natural curiosity for everything. I love to ask questions, which then enable me to identify solutions, particularly to areas of real challenge or difficulty.

I touched on my varying roles in my last blog; having worked across posts in the NHS, social work, and the third sector. From starting out as a carer, moving into occupational therapy roles, then management roles, followed by transformation roles; all of the lessons I learned throughout my public sector journey have shaped the professional that I am today.

When I took on a social work manager job, I remember being teased at work due to the number of times in my first week I asked, “but WHY?”. I would question practices or procedures that were clearly embedded, but that appeared to effect little to no positive outcome.  When I got a response, it was often, “that’s what we do here”, revealing no definitive clarity on the value of doing these things.

But back to consultancy…without a doubt, you have to be credible if you are coming in to organisations to offer independent advice.

Credibility is key to effective consultancy

How do I define credibility? Knowledge, trust, capability, integrity and results are all principles of credibility.  People subconsciously judge the credibility of people by looking at the three C’s of credibility; competence, character and caring.

“At the heart of great leadership is a curious mind, heart and spirit” Chip Conley

Organisational culture often tells me everything I need to know about how a service area or indeed how a wider organisation performs. People are likely to follow leaders who authentically demonstrate the three C’s.  Leaders who display trustworthiness, competence, character and genuine care about the people within the organisations that they work, are those who see the greatest successes.

We all remember great leaders.  Sadly, we also all remember ineffective leaders. I have witnessed huge and rapid changes throughout my career in local government and since beginning consulting in 2022. I believe wholeheartedly that those working within public sector services wish to see their services evolve and strengthen.  That they want to see strong leadership, positive outcomes for citizens and a real connection with the workforce.

I believe that consultants bring value to the public sector.  We all know that local government resources are often so stretched.  My experience of this has been very much around leaders within the system who really desire to have time and capacity to effect change; but due to the challenges of their role, often are trapped in a spinning ‘hamster wheel’.  I have heard this call for change expressed often across the last two decades in local government services.

Innovation and dynamism are desperately needed. This is where I believe the public sector benefits enormously from experienced, credible consultants as they have the required independence to challenge the practice and cultural norms.

Consultants undertake research, independent stakeholder engagement, have deep subject-matter expertise and therefore, the subsequent provision of their thought-provoking insights and recommendations provide real results and impact for the public sector. Those of us who chose careers as consultants, love to achieve positive outcomes for our clients and equip organisations for the future challenges they will face.

What makes C.Co different?

Here at C.Co, we have developed a very diverse team of consultants, each of whom have over 15 years’ individual experience within local government. Our consultants are strategic leaders, and in many cases, they have held transformational roles in local government. With that real world, lived experience, they are well placed to offer business consultancy. As a relatively small consultancy team, C.Co is committed to building genuine relationships and delivering tangible value.

How do we add value?

We offer consultancy on all types of organisational challenges, including strategic development, commercialisation, analysis, business planning, transformation and delivery. Our values centre around understanding our clients’ challenges, sharing our in-depth knowledge and experience, delivering practical and timely support and solutions, and employing talented, committed and capable experts. These values underpin everything we do, enabling us to deliver excellence and satisfy our customers.

By having a small and nimble team, with a diverse range of personalities and skills, we aim to be the antithesis of the massive, corporate, sometimes faceless competition.

Contact us to find out more about the support we can provide your organisation.