On winning

Last night I had the honour of being announced winner of the Guardian Public Services – Leadership Excellence Award.


We were informed the results were close and I was blown away when my name was announced. In fact shocked – I literally couldn’t believe that I had managed to win through a public vote. A special thanks has to go to Dan Slee who started a campaign and was relentless in encouraging people to vote for me.

I would also like to thank everyone who took the time to vote, not just for me but for the other incredible short listed candidates.

I was fortunate to be able to share the moment and evening with my wife Sharon who always provides incredible support and encourages me to grow.


I was also able to share the moment with Councillor Barry Parsons (Devon County Councillor and Cabinet Member for Performance and Engagement). It was great to get another opportunity to help raise the profile of being open by default and digital by design to local councillors.

I want to thank the members of the public leaders editorial board who nominated me and I managed to actually meet some of the board at the awards which was great.

There are so many individuals who have helped challenge my thinking and shaped my leadership skills over the years. But the following people deserve to get a special mention as some of the biggest contributors to who I am today.

In the council:
Tony Parker
My team (Russell, Sam, Matt, Tim, Patrick and Lore)
Sam Hill
Martin Howitt
Sara Cretney
Simon Kitchen
Pip Tucker
John Smith
Richard Carter
Michael Beechener

From outside the council
Dave Briggs
Dominic Campbell
Carrie Bishop
Mike Saunby
Sarah Lay
Sarah Jennings
Carl Whistlecraft
Dave McKenna
Catherine Howe
Andrea Siodmok
Anthony Zacharzewski
George Julian
Simon Gough
Phillippa Rose
Mark Cotton
Nick Hill
Dan Slee
Hadley Beeman
Jeremy Gould
Julie Hawker

Thank you – I very much value your insights, challenge and conversations. You may not know it but you are all an inspiration to me.

I also want to acknowledge the other short listed candidates as I admire them all and have huge respect for what they have and continue to achieve and I just hope that I can do them and myself proud moving forward.

I particularly want to acknowledge Mike Bracken – executive director of digital, cabinet office who has had a huge impact on the digital space in the public sector – for that I must thank him as it has made my job a little easier.

Whilst I recognise the relationship between local and central government isn’t always a happy and productive affair – Mike’s vision and leadership has had a huge positive and constructive disruption on local government and me personally. I’d love to have a conversation and hopefully work with Mike on how we can bridge that gap and look at how the relationship, skills and approaches can be developed an extended across local and central government.

Another thing to celebrate is that Devon actually won two awards last night, who said Devon wasn’t a hub of innovation 🙂 The Northern Devon NHS Trust won the Partnership Excellence award – we were championing Devon and were absorbing the ambiance of the fantastic venue right to the very end.


Finally I’m so proud to be representing local government and all those who work tirelessly to improve people’s lives.

We all do amazing work and we should all find the courage to stand up for those people and communities we serve.



On being nominated

A few weeks back I was notified that I was included on the Public Services Award: Leadership Excellence shortlist. Public voting closes on 21st October – #VoteCarl…

Initially when I first heard I was like “WTF?” but after a while and after some grounding conversations with colleagues and my family I became personally proud and honoured to be included in the list given the outstanding quality of the other candidates.

In the time since it was first announced I’ve had so much positive feedback and people have said such wonderful things. I’ve received praise and congratulations from so many people including The leader of the council, the chief executive, my line manager, my Heads of Service, other Heads of Service, lots of internal and external peers and colleagues and even some teachers at my children’s school.

What all of this has done for me personally is fantastic, it has cemented some confidence, it has nudged me forward, it has challenged me to think about my impact and influence on the people around me at all levels but most of all it has made me think about the type of leadership I’ve demonstrated to justify being nominated in the first place.

On the awards website it states:

In a part of the world not always renowned for its innovation, Haggerty is building on his fundamental belief that local government is, and should, be “open by default and digital by design” and that every citizen can and will “meaningfully integrate the internet into their daily lives” to provide active and capable participation in a ubiquitous digital climate.

Haggerty, who also chairs the LocalGov Digital steering group, has been shortlisted for his energy and openness in pursuit of pervasive digital awareness and education, which has included an innovation month at Devon county council. “He’s doing something remarkable in a place you might not necessarily expect,” according to the Public Leaders Network editorial advisory board.

The interesting thing about all of the things that have been mentioned is that – and as a close friend pointed out – none of the things I have achieved are original or even my ideas…so they were quick to state that I was a fraud, but a worthy one…I’ll take that in a good way 🙂

However that doesn’t mean I don’t believe those things and want to work to make them happen, because I do – in fact I’m very passionate about the the future of local government, the digital climate for local public services, I want to help my council and others understand this space and to move forward. I do believe that being open by default and digital by design is fundamentally critical to public service design and I am very proud of being able to sell the idea of a month of creativity to our Corporate Leadership Team and then rally others around me to help make it happen. I’m also very proud of being Chair of LocalGov Digital which is full of people I admire and respect hugely and we are all on a collective journey and no one is better than anyone else – we simply work well together.

But the point that my colleague pointed out is correct, in that none of these things are my ideas – to a degree – I’ve been reusing, reframing and adopting other peoples ideas and bringing them together and where possible (hopefully) adding value, ever since I started working in this area. I’ve not got the answers and I know other people don’t either but together we can find our way through, What I try and do is make sense of those things and then through my blog and other channels try and share some of that thinking or ask questions.

In relation to the blurb about me I’d thought i’d provide the background to the bits it highlights so you can all know where this stuff originated.

  • Open by default, digital by design – was a phrase coined by Carrie Bishop at the Open Space South West Event in September 2012 – ever since she said that I adopted it like a personal mantra…So Thank you Carrie.
  • The Digital climate – This was a phrase I read in the City of Chicago’s digital strategy which was promoted by John Tolva, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at City of Chicago – so Thank you John
  • The innovation month (Create & Innovate) – I reused an idea that the Met Office in Exeter used which was an “Innovate and Create” week – I simply reversed the name and extended the time. Thank you Mike and Natalie (colleagues at the Met Office)
  • Localgov Digital – I’m merely one a wider group of people who came together through frustration, determination and a passion for local government. Thank you to all the fellow steering group members

I think what has happened is that I’ve somehow managed to nudge some things forward, to help other people, to inspire other people and to be open about all those types of things in my blog – I seem to have demonstrated a type of leadership which some wish to recognise.

Everyone on the list deserves the award in my view – it is clear why they all deserve it – am I suggesting I deserve it more, no not in the slightest…in fact I’m only doing what I’m paid to do…this is what my job, my manager, my team, my service and my council expects and demands of me.

I’d like to believe that everyone working for the residents of Devon deserve an award – everyone knows the context and challenges people are dealing with in their everyday work life. I’m lucky I get to share my thinking, I’m in a role that exposes me more to a wider group of people. This is also replicated across every council area in the country – It isn’t easy working in the sector right now…it is full of uncertainty, full of fundamental change, but in amongst all of this people do the jobs that they are expected to do and more and I’m proud to be part of that team.

I think one of the contributing factors to be noticed, let alone nominated was my blog and my general level of activity of twitter – So i’d like to encourage more people to be brave and share their thinking, to take that first step and be open to challenge and constructive feedback. Not to win an award but to connect to a wider group of people who can and do help you.

I’ve been asked whether I want to win and yes of course I’d love to win (I would really love to win – #votecarl), but do I feel I deserve to win over the other candidates…no not really but that is something for anyone who votes to decide.

Whatever the outcome I’m going to enjoy this moment and enjoy the awards ceremony as it has already had a massive impact on my life by simply being recognised as a leader.

To the editorial group who put my name forward – THANK YOU.



Even more determined

Personally I was very pleased to hear that Walsall Council had decided to do an “experiment” with twitter and tweet for a full 24 hours.  But this post is not about that work although you can read more about it here on Dan Slee’s blog and follow it for yourself on twitter with the hashtag #walsall24.   It was also great to see some national coverage on the Guardian website and this was a great thing to see….But then I started reading the comments on this Guardian Article.

[Update – The comments have now disappeared or been removed – the Guardian site displays article history which states – This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 08.29 GMT on Thursday 3 March 2011. It was last modified at 11.51 GMT on Friday 4 March 2011]

I’m not going to reproduce any of the comments here as I simply don’t agree with them and would not want those comments seen on my blog (I do have standards).

What I will say is, it is very good to see a council experimenting and trying new approaches, even if it is to simply learn lessons about whether a particular medium can or could be used over time to aid communications – and in this instance, it was free and staff did tweets in their own time using good will.

Regardless of how many people follow Walsall Council or even how many people are actually residents….It was an experiment and no doubt was to try out something new whilst the council has staff to try things like this.  Some people would see this as a waste of time – But I don’t  – I think Walsall should be applauded and I’m looking forward to hearing about the lessons learned.

It very much feels like that as local government we are damned if we do try new things and damned if we don’t.

In this climate and over the next few years we simply HAVE TO CHANGE and It would be great if we could all support those in local government and understand and accept that we all make mistakes and we all need to learn – please support your colleagues and friends in local government as we are only trying to make local services better for us all.

If anything it makes me more determined…..I’m always happy to get feedback and I love a good debate and discussion – as this helps people move forward….what I don’t value is just negativity  – It just doesn’t help anyone.

Whether people like it or not, we are ALL in this together and we ALL need to work together to find better solutions and to provide better or different services.

Society Guardian – People Power

I received a call earlier this morning from Katie Bacon, who informed me that there was a section in today’s Guardian “People Power” which contained an article about using social networking platforms for Youth Participation and Katie was of course mentioned (Well done Katie). However the whole pull out contained a wide range of interesting articles about Social Media,  Engagement, Participation and Social Cohesion.

I have since searched online but have not yet found the online versions. But if you are interested in this area of work and you can get a copy of today’s Guardian or even just get to read the People Power section I’d recommend it.