Building the elected official’s work environment in Nord-Pas de Calais Region


What was the problem?

Two-thirds of officials are newly elected, many find themselves in unknown territory as they discover for the first time the responsibilities of a newly-elected regional official. How does one become elected, and how do the pieces of a person’s experience fit together throughout his/her entire term and career? What is his/her day-to-day like? From phones to internet, what tools are available, and how are they used?

Nearing the April 2009 elections, the Nord-Pas de Calais Region and La 27e Région led an experiment over several months aimed at delving into the work practices of elected officials and those of their cabinet members with the goal in mind to re-design existing conditions, if not, ultimately, revolutionise them.

 What did they do?

The experiment focuses on three volunteer elected officials and their cabinet members. The team first looks to piece together the breadth of influential players in close proximity to an elected official in order to better pinpoint their position, whose findings will, in turn, help the team to more effectively visualise its intervention and impact.

During the course of the elected official’s myriad interviews and organised visits (delegations, meetings with his/her different teams during his/her multiple terms), the team gathers the “insights” that shape the thought process and give rise to the avenues available. The team also takes care to constantly communicate on the official’s work, enabling everyone to react or participate accordingly. Following a series of workshops comprised of both officials and cabinet members, the team offers several “project ideas” in the form of illustrated scenarios mirroring reality as closely as possible.

What was the result?

By the end of the experiment, four projects are put to the test: The “co-laboratory” is a semi-annual encounter wherein cabinet members share work practices; The “regional term kit” is a file housing all information that may prove useful to an official during his/her entire term, and whose more detailed version is also available in soft copy; The “Suite-projet” is an information architecture designed to provide cross-functional answers to communication issues between elected officials and their cabinet members. The possibility to revisit and rework notes, deliberations and reports is yet another of its benefits.

Lastly, “Transfo” is the creation of a regional, innovative think tank within the Regional Council. Even though the potential of some of the above proposals stopped short, the short-lived presence of a creative and pluri-disciplinary team coupled with its efforts to transform reverie into reality left, nonetheless, lasting traces on the participants, and inspired the 27e Région’s newest initiative, “Transfo”, up and running today in 4 other Regions.

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