Sir Philip Rutnam on resilience and wellbeing, listening to people and a delivery gone wrong

Written by Civil Service World on 6 January 2020 in Feature

As 2020 approaches, senior figures from across government reflect on their highlights and challenges of 2019, look ahead to the next 12 months and share their favourite festive memories

Haggis horror. Photo: PA

What was your highlight of 2019?

This year we launched “Our Home Office”, an ambitious initiative focused on listening and engaging with our managers across the department to support cultural and behavioural change – and make the Home Office a great place to work for all our people. We really tried to emphasise listening – and as a result had some great conversations right across the country.

What has been the most significant change in your organisation this year?

Like many departments, we’ve supported a new secretary of state and the new government as they hit the ground running. As a department, we’ve maintained our focus on effectively running public services and of course delivering an immense amount of work on Brexit.

"We really tried to emphasise listening – and as a result had some great conversations right across the country."

What will be the biggest challenge of 2020 – and how are you preparing to meet it?

It will clearly start with a new government who – regardless of who wins the election – will expect us to get on with delivering their priorities. Brexit is bound to feature, and it’s likely there’ll be a major fiscal event too. A key challenge will be ensuring the continued resilience and wellbeing of our people, through what will be a busy period with potentially further uncertainty.

Tell us a favourite festive memory from your youth...

My mum was Scottish and she used to like ordering a haggis for Hogmanay. One year there was a postal strike and the haggis arrived in February. Let’s just say it wasn’t in the best condition. 

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