A book that took twelve years to write and means a great deal to me. It deals with human actors in public policy collaboration and proposes a new framework for understanding what happens when actors try to collaborate for public purpose. Everything I have learnt about collaboration is in here. And it can be summed up in one word – endeavour. A good subject for the next book…..

A genuinely collaborative output from a genuinely collaborative project. I learned so much about multi-disciplinary research collaboration through this project. And I had the opportunity to work with old friends as well as encountering brilliant new colleagues as we explored the impact of the Global Financial Crisis and austerity on urban centres in eight countries.

The biggest writing project I have ever managed. Over 100 authors, nearly 1000 pages, and two very heavy volumes. Fortunately I worked with two outstanding co-editors, Helen Dickinson and Hayley Henderson, and a terrific editorial team at Palgrave.

Our aim was to assemble a Handbook that would illuminate what it means to be a public servant in today’s world(s) where globalisation and neoliberalism have proliferated the number of actors who contribute to the public purpose sector and created new spaces that public servants now operate in.

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I was a supporting player in this editorial collaboration. A great team to be part of.

This book investigates the professional needs and training requirements of an ever-changing public service workforce in Australia and the United Kingdom. It explores the nature of future roles, the types of skills and competencies that will be required and how organisations might recruit, train and develop public servants for these roles.

A book that began life in 2012 when I read the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ White Paper from the Commonwealth Government. I had arrived in Australia the year before and was curious to explore new possibilities for public policy. Here was an opportunity to do that. Luckily for me my new colleague Sara Bice was as enthusiastic and also a great deal more productive in developing a Masters’ level course that we co-taught, and then leading the editorial team for this book, which also involved another great colleague, Avery Poole.

The book offers conceptual and theoretical advances in policy studies to situate contemporary policy scholarship within a global environment and examines case studies from across the Asian region and various policy arenas

My second collaboration with Chris Skelcher, and my first opportunity to work with two terrific researchers, the endlessly creative Stephen Jeffares, and the very thoughtful Michael Farrelly. This was a challenging project for all sorts of reasons, but it enabled me to extend my understanding of the role of neighbourhoods in governance, and it also introduced me to the delights of ‘Q methodology’

A report rather than a book. The product of a significant piece of work supported by the University of Birmingham, the first of a series of ‘Policy Commissions’ into major challenges, in this case the future of local public services under austerity. I am incredibly proud of this work as it was a the product of a huge amount of hard work to facilitate the ‘co-creation’ of the findings. I was fortunate to work with the inestimable Deborah Cadman as chair of the Commission, and the wonderful Audrey Nganwa who was our researcher. The late Jane Slowey, another of my public service heroines, served as a Commissioner.

One of the best projects I have ever worked on. I was still relatively early in my academic research career and working with Marian Barnes and Janet Newman was a masterclass/bootcamp experience that sharpened my understanding of research excellence and enhanced my capability. The research offered one of the first in depth, longitudinal examinations of contemporary innovations in public participation in the UK. It provided conceptual and analytical tools for making visible and material the existence of multiple and overlapping ‘publics’, and the emergence of enabling and disabling institutional forms of public participation, including ‘institutional prisons’. It also afforded new insights into the engagement of democratic theories with new forms of governance.

Hard to believe now just how much resource underpinned the ‘modernisation’ reforms of the UK New Labour Government. Health Action Zones were the first of a number of place-based reform initiatives with ambitious agendas to modernise services and address inequality. Another novel aspect of these reforms was government commitment to formal evaluation. This book is the outcome. I was fortunate to be invited to join a great team, all of whom have continued to make significant contributions to public health, urban policy, and user voice.

My first book and my first experience of writing collaboratively. I learned a great deal about writing and about collaboration. Fortunately the book found au audience, despite the awful cover.

The book situated inter-agency collaboration in the context of the then UK government’s modernisation of public services, making connections with international developments, and offering developments in theory and practice based on our original research.

A report not a book, and without a cover photo as it’s not traceable on the web. Richards, S., Barnes, M., Gaster, L. and Sullivan, H (1999), Cross-cutting Issues in Public Policy and Public Services, DETR, London.

This project matters to me as it was my introduction into working with central as opposed to local government. It also gave me language for complex public policy and service issues – ‘cross-cutting issues’ – that I much prefer to the now ubiquitous use of ‘wicked issues’.

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