Emily Miles’ Story
Emily Miles travelled to India, Canada and the USA in 2010 and 2011 to investigate successful collaborations between publicly funded services.
Emily, a senior UK civil servant, used her Fellowship to look for examples of successful publicly-funded collaborations between different organisations. She had become frustrated at the amount of effort and money she saw being wasted as publicly funded organisations struggled to work with each other, despite a decade of central government initiatives that mandated collaborative working at regional and local level on issues such as cutting crime, regeneration, and dysfunctional families.
Emily was looking for inspiration from boundary-crossers: those who worked collaboratively across departments, between agencies, between national and local government, between the public sector, social enterprises and NGO sector, and with the private sector. She discovered that there were some things that all successful collaborations had in common, such as a shared common purpose, and an emphasis on relationships over formal systems.
Emily also witnessed some striking practices which had been integral to the success of collaborations, such as the involvement of external third parties who have no responsibility for the delivery of the service in question, but who can take a non-partisan, ‘whole system view’ of the collaboration.
Upon returning to the UK in 2011, Emily wrote up her findings in a report on ‘Collaborative Working’ for the Institute for Government. This is now a key part of a module for the ‘Senior Leaders Scheme’, a flagship training programme for future civil service directors. Additionally, Emily has taught seminars on collaborative working to civil servants at all grades. Emily’s report also influenced a UN Development Programme paper on collaborative working (see page 6).
Emily has been tasked with several high-profile projects in her work since returning from her Fellowship, including closing down one policing agency and setting up a new professional body for the police in 2011-12, becoming the Director for Policing Policy in the Home Office in 2012-14, and reviewing government practice on tackling illegal working and exploiting migrants in 2014-15. She is currently Group Director of Strategy at Defra. The findings from her Fellowship continue to influence Emily in her work.