Points of View 30th November 2017

OpenGov Encounters – Anne Kidd, Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire

by Paul Bradley

Job title: Chief Executive

Org: Voluntary Action East Ren (SCIO)

Location: East Renfrewshire           

Network Member since: Early 2016

Contact me at: anne.kidd@va-er.org.uk


How would you describe your job to a child?

Haha! I read a lot, write a lot and talk a lot. I work with a team of staff and the people that live and work locally to try and create a fairer East Renfrewshire.

By involving people from all walks of life to talk about their how things are for them and their neighbourhood, how things could be better we then get their help to make the improvements needed; they often come to realise that they have a lot to offer others in similar situations. So we help people to connect with one another.

What does the concept of open government mean to you?

Open government is a way of being; honesty, authenticity, integrity, transparency and love of the people that live and work here should be its guiding principles. It embraces civic participation.

Working in a way that makes sure that the people who live in our country can easily see and understand how the people that make decisions about our country come to those decisions and can see that the decisions are made with the very best interests of the country at heart. That openness does not fear scrutiny, nor does it hide from participatory democracy.

What would your autobiography be called?

Reach for the stars!

Why did you become involved in the Open Government Network?

I think we have something to offer the network from the way we work in East Renfrewshire. I think that our approach in East Ren is beginning to walk the journey towards participatory democracy.

Tell us one thing you’d like this Network to do in the next 6 months

Choose a theme and go talk to people about it.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Emails that connect people to one another and share information and intelligence with the third sector.

Meetings with very senior public sector staff to invite them to join a local conversation and hear them talk about ‘performance and accountability.’

Meetings with more ‘operational’ public sector staff and third sector leaders to think about how we can bring collaborative funding bids to help deal with loneliness and poverty that many of our local people experience.

Talk to my own team to get their help to bring all these local ingredients together to start changing the world

What breed of social media user are you?

Haha…probably a Lurker though I frequently share things others have posted; tweeted.

What three things could members of this network get in contact with you about?

How we do collaboration; collective impact and community participation.

The link to the one website/blog/online community that you cannot live without, and nor should others:

Diminishing amount on Facebook and growing LinkedIn – there are a lot more articles getting posted on LinkedIn these days and Facebook is for keeping in touch with family/friends/political news!

Is there a particular area of open government that you’re interested in? Or, do you have a question you’d like network members to respond to?

Not yet.

Where do you see the open government movement in Scotland in three years?

I hope it finds a way being more than a talking shop. People get involved in things when it is something that affects them/their family personally.

So in 3 years’ time it would be great if it picked 1 or 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals and see what could be done differently with some collaboration and knowledge sharing – when people don’t have good information they just go on perceptions and hearsay; always dangerous.

Biggest like:

Campervan around West of Scotland, Hillwalking, Pink Floyd, Sharing ideas and power!

Biggest Dislike: 

Soaps on TV, Having my photo taken, Current public sector structures – designed to retain power with the few

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