A hard act to follow

untitled (229) All of us rely on Services provided by Local Government on a daily basis, yet all too often we are unaware of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that as many of these services as possible work effectively. Every time a newspaper, local Politician or an MP speaks about the failings or weaknesses of other Politicians or Political leaders at a local level, it is usually a criticism that carries with it barbs which must catch in the skin of our local Council Officers. It never ceases to amaze me how many of these people continue to be cheerful despite this. In Brighton & Hove we once had around 8,000 people on the payroll of our Council and some of these people who are mostly unknown to all but their closest friends and colleagues do not formally deliver services but help to make links, reduce inefficiencies and help the sails of the Council to catch the prevailing winds to travel further and faster than would be the case if all we had were oars to move the ship. It is hard to acknowledge one person without the nagging concern that there are many others whose name I don’t know and who also work incredibly hard to improve the lives of people in the City. However this week Richard Butcher-Tuset announced that he was leaving his role within the Council to study to become a Priest in the Church of England. In a City which has far too often been mistakenly described as the ‘most godless city in England and Wales’ finding people within the City Council willing to stand up and publicly articulate a case for greater engagement with faith groups is not unique, but Richard is someone whose calls for this engagement has been both authentic and also heard in contexts where such calls do actually challenge the thinking of many within the room. I am thrilled that Richard has been accepted to study at at Westcott House, Cambridge, to train as an Anglican Priest in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church. Its a tradition that can be referred to as the Oxford movement and which had a transformative impact on our town in the 19th Century. In his own way Richard has had a transformative impact on the relationship between the Council and faith communities and I know that he will be a hard act to follow. Richard has worked with many groups and has influenced many policies for the better, not just those that affect faith groups. His loss at any time would be a hard blow, but whilst we are without a permanent CEO, his departure in September will be even more devastating for his colleagues and those of us who value his work. I am grateful for all he has done and wish him the very best as he begins his studies. Let us hope his successor will not be intimidated by the impact we will need them to make.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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