First; the admission: I am a “graduate” of Common Purpose having taken part in the year long programme in Cardiff around 1995. So there’s a chance that I might be biased when I say that Eric Pickles is making a mistake when he says that local authorities are wasting their money sending staff on these leadership programmes.The programme involved people from public, private and third sector organisations to study issues of key importance to their communities, but in a manner that they could not have done without the mixture of attendees. Every month we took a day to look at one challenging issue, and covered the spectrum of attitudes to those issues. So, for example, on the day called Law and Order (one person’s perspective) we were encouraged by the local Police Inspector on the course to adopt the tile of Crime and Punishment. Same telescope – just the other end.
And from the mix, a bunch of lawyers, accountants, civil servants, local authority staff, welfare workers, doctors, nurses, policemen, businessmen, chairty workers, etc etc all saw the world through someone else’s eyes. And all of us began to realise that the world is a little more complicated than our own previlusly under informed views had made it out to be.
For that roundness of person and completeness of thinking alone, I would commend a Common Purpose programme to anyone who is involved in or cares about the future of our society. It does help to shape a more complete, and common, purpose