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Why I swapped the global for the local
Richard Nelmes, Head of Network, NLGN, 20 June, 2017

This week, Richard Nelmes joined the NLGN team as Head of Network, following almost a decade at the United Nations Association.

The United Nations is a global body of 193 countries that was created with the express purpose of preventing a third World War. What could be more different to the local authorities, from Manchester to Cornwall, that make up the New Local Government Network?

At their core, the UN and local councils grapple with the same issue: their unique power and responsibility to transform the lives of the people they serve is too often constrained by chronic overstretching and underfunding.

Because of this, both feel the urgent need to radically change the way they do business. Not just a couple of surface tweaks, but a profound cultural shift to equip them to face the challenges that were unimaginable when they were first founded.

It’s here that NLGN’s members have the edge. We’re ready to share ideas and learn from one another. We know that an ability to adapt is the only way to to help the most vulnerable members of our society. We understand our communities. That’s why our network embraces the core ‘changemaking’ values of creativity, collaboration and self-determination.

Being at the heart of this movement is what distinguishes NLGN councils and corporate members. It’s what drives the staff team, and it’s what drew me to join them.

So, what will be my focus over the coming months?

  • Firstly, I want to deepen existing connections between our members and help create new ones. I’m thrilled to be joining Adam and the team as they launch the Innovation Exchange programme. These member-only day-long sessions will bring together the senior officers driving innovation within local authorities to share ideas and best practice.
  • I’ll also work to make sure that our members stay at the heart of our mission, increasing their engagement. Through our sector-leading research and bite-sized Innovation Briefings, they’ll be equipped to impact their community.
  • Finally, I’ll develop our network. Reaching out to potential new members, we will be inviting fresh voices and ideas from innovative local authorities from across the UK to join us.

I’m thrilled to have joined NLGN and can’t wait to meet with members of the Network. If you’d like to chat then please get in touch.


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