New Year, New Direction, New Course

New Year, New Direction, New Course

January 1st is an arbitrary day to be the first day of the year. As a former public servant in the UK I would also see 1 April as the first day of the financial year. Several years ago I wrote a post explaining why the UK tax year starts on 6 April (which itself refers to the first day of the year traditionally being 25th March, “Conception Day”). Anyway, 1 January is the conventional start of the year in terms of the change from 2018 to 2019 (CE, not AD) and the extended break I had over the Christmas and new year period has given me a chance to think about this blog.

Read More

How to Hire a Consultant in the Public Sector — the e-book

How to Hire a Consultant in the Public Sector — the e-book

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a small e-book about procurement in the public sector as a learning exercise. This is not learning how to write a book, but how to get a manuscript formatted as an e-book, with a cover, etc and uploaded to a platform for sale. It turns out that it is fairly easy to do but, like many things, the first time you do it takes a lot longer.

Read More

What are the principles of managing public money?

I’m working on an online course about the principles of managing public money. The course is aimed at everyone in the public sector, whether employees, politicians, volunteers, etc. I want it to be a great course that is valuable to the people who register for it. I’ve got over thirty years’ experience of managing public money and there is a temptation to cram all my knowledge into a single course, but that would not be a good idea.

There’s not a technology reason why I could not have a course comprised of hundreds of lessons that would take the learner many weeks to complete. There is, I think, a practical limit on what a person is willing to take on, especially if it is additional to their work commitments. This means that one of my challenges is to find the balance between including enough material for the course to be valuable without going into too much detail and becoming onerous — or worse, boring. I’ve spent quite a bit of time, therefore, deciding what to include and what to exclude and I’ve had to delete some sections and ideas that I would like to teach in order to keep things focused.

The platform I am using for my courses allows lessons to be grouped into modules. I think five modules, each taking one to two hours to complete is about right. This is something someone could complete in a day if they really wanted to, but more likely they could complete it over 1 to 4 weeks to fit with their schedule.

The five modules I have now decided on are set out below.

  1. The big picture—to cover what the public sector is for and the differences in financial management between the private and public sectors.
  2. The principles of funding public services—so that learners understand why some services are funded from taxes whilst others charge fees to users
  3. The fundamental importance of the budget in the public sector—because it is.
  4. Principles for making decisions about spending public money—in order to get the best possible public services in terms of value for money.
  5. Being accountable for the use of public money—because anyone who handles public money has to be willing and able to account for what they did and what they did not do.

These are my thoughts on grouping the course into modules. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and observations in the comments section.

If you’re interested in this course you can sign up for my mailing list and be the first to know when the course opens for registration by clicking here.

Creating an online course about managing public money

This week I made a start on creating my first paid-for course. It is a course aimed at anyone working in the public sector who wants to know more about the big picture of financial management. It is concerned with explaining the differences in financial management between the public and private sector, how public bodies are funded, and the governance arrangements that tend to apply to public workers. It also explains the concept of value for money, something which is vitally important to organisations that do not sell their products and services in a free market.

I thought it might be interesting to write a series of blog posts over the next few weeks that show how the course was created…

Read More