'A Day in the Life...' Survey 2011
In 2011, 5 government departments – BIS, DCLG, DEFRA, MoJ, Cabinet Office – took part in the work shadow scheme with over 520 participants. A full report on the scheme is currently be complied and will be published in due course. In the meantime, a summary of the survey that followed 'this year's scheme can be found below.
- Brief statistical summary of 2011's scheme
- Selection of the feedback from VCS participants
- Selection of the feedback from government participants
95% of the respondents found the experience ‘worthwhile’ (78% ‘very worthwhile’).
80% of respondents said they would share their learning / experience with colleagues.
87% of respondents would recommend the scheme to colleagues.
80% of public sector respondents felt the scheme had increased their understanding of civil society.
92% of VCS respondents said it had increased their knowledge of how government works.
62% of VCS respondents felt it had helped them build government contact.
69% of government respondents said they would keep in touch with the person or organisatio they were matched with
When surveyed, VCS participants were asked 'Overall, what did you think of the work shadowing scheme'. The following is a selection of answers:
I thought the workshadowing scheme was excellent - it was so worthwhile and I really learnt a great deal in the 2 days I spent with my Civil servant counterpart. It was also really easy to set up.
It was a great opportunity to get to know more about how government works and the intricacies of policy making.
I was very interesting and insightful. When the gvt rep I was shadowing came to our organisation he gave us good advice and took active part in the meeting we held as a team. When I went to the gvt offices there was so much to learn about the labour market and was also given opportunity to speak to someone from the HR who shared some valuable insight into HR and its changes over the years. I enjoyed this scheme and really think it was worthwhile and very useful. Thank you.
It was an excellent way to step outside of my own organization and see how civil servants work. It was a great opportunity to introduce them to my work at CAT and a very enjoyable exchange.
I really enjoyed it - it was interesting to see the parallels and understand that my small organisation tucked away in West Yorkshire faces the same challenges and dilemmas as DeFRA in Central London
It was a good idea. It opens up the possibility for dialogue which would not otherwise be possible.
Excellent - a really good opportunity to link in to how things work in Westminster.
I have found the scheme hugely enjoyable and very beneficial. I know that the professional relationship with my shadow partner will continue well beyond the scheme.
Excellent idea, efficiently executed!
t was a fantastic opportunity. I found it very useful to see the context government department colleagues work in.
I thought it was excellent - a great opportunity to meet lots of relevant people and find out more about the work of a government department
Loved it, it really raised my aspirations for my own future.
It was a good experience to build relationships with people in national government and get a greater understanding about the challenges that departments face.
The workshadowing scheme was an excellent opportunity to enable access to behind the scenes of government.
An innotive scheme that was very useful.
Overall I think the scheme is an excellent idea and one that should be encouraged more between sectors.
I consider the scheme a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day workings of government. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit during which I was able to meet a wide variety of government representatives involved in policy making and delivery at all levels.
It was a very well organised scheme, easy to organise the days for shadowing and overall a useful experience.
A very interesting exercise where I learned a lot, very worthwhile.
The shadowing was an excellent idea as often its misunderstanding between sectors that are the barriers to working together.
It was a fantastic opportunity to see behind the scenes in a major government department. It was fascinating to see policy development in action, and experience how politics and policy interact.
Great. A valuable learning experience.
Excellent. It opens doors and eyes for all involved.
Positive opportunity to share knowledge and raise awareness of government/voluntary sector.
Useful way of providing some development for people at a time when funding s tight and training budgets are being cut.
Found it very enlightening and helpful.
Good opportunity to understand government perspective.
It was a very interesting, educating and memorable experience.
I thought that the workshadowing scheme was a wonderful idea. It really opened my eyes as to how government works, and how overall the similarities with regards to income and sustainability are the same in public departments as in the voluntary and charity sector.
Very good - thank you.
Excellent very useful to gain further insight into how strategy at defra is developed.
Really positive experience, learnt a lot about how the Cabinet Office works and had a good opportunity to promote the work that our organisation does too.
It was a very interesting and enjoyable experience.
I had an excellent experience – and gained an incredible amount.
Having someone else look into a day in your life makes you reassess what you are doing (to the good) and pulls the odd sock up here and there! It is all too easy to get complacent.
Excellent. I think both parties benefited from seeing how the other operates day-to-day.
A very worthwhile experience. The scheme gave some genuine insight into the machinations of a Whitehall department.
It was wonderful experience and I Learned a lot from that.
It provided an excellent opportunity to liaise with someone working in a government department.
Absolutely loved it - brilliant experience.
A really interesting insight into an organisation with quite a different work culture and an opportunity to develop my understanding of policy-making.
I felt that the match was well-suited and learned about an area which was both useful to me personally and for the organisation. It opened the way for future partnership working and raised awareness within the team of the work of my shadow partner and the IMB.
Excellent. Very useful and would recommend the experience to my colleagues.
I thought it was an interesting way for civil servants to get a fresh perspective on a relatively unknown sector. For me as a charity worker, it provided a useful insight into the extent to which policy-makers engage with real life in the course of their work.
Great experience - nice to have insight into "the other side" and learned alot about a department I didn't know much about.
Thanks for this scheme - its really valuable and hassle free!
It was much better than I expected and I thought that my counterpart would not learn anything at my end but they did so that was a bonus.
Just thanks for all the behind-the-scenes work that went into it. A simple idea but really well managed.
A fantastic experience and have now made a new link in government who will be joining our next team meeting and doing some work with our team. I learnt so much.
A hearty 'thank you'.
Overall an extremely positive experience.
It's a very positive experience, I will encourage those I manage to get involved.
I had a wonderful time on both days, I actually learnt things about my organisation that I didn't know and also now know how difficult it is for government departments too. I am really looking forward to taking part again next year.
Well done Paul.
Really great opportunity which you don't come across very often. Well done NCVO.
Thank you for a really interesting idea and making it happen.
Thanks for the opportunity.
When surveyed, government participants were asked 'Overall, what did you think of the work shadowing scheme?'.The following is a selection of answers:
I thought it was very good and was a great opportunity to find out about another sector. I would find it useful to do it again.
I found it very beneficial to gain an awareness of policy development within a smaller organisation and to be able to apply those principles to policy development within the MoJ.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to colleagues.
I found it extremely interesting and worthwhile. A great eye opener and useful link to the community
Very interesting - I learnt alot about how the voluntary sector work
Very worthwhile. It was an eye opening to see how charities have to battle for every bit of funding and to see first hand the difference they make in the community.
A great opportunity to gain insight into work in the voluntary and non for profit sector.
I really enjoyed it. It was good to be able to go to an outside organisation and see how they work. I enjoyed meeting my work shawdowee and seeing what he does.
A brilliant idea. Excellent opportunity to get a snapshot of working in the vcs.
I thought that it was an amazing experience!!!
Extremely worthwhile - gained tremendous insight into work of non-government organisation.
It provides a useful insight into how other organisations work.
It was a really worthwhile and rewarding experience.
A very positive experience all round.
An excellent opportunity.
I thought the scheme was very interesting and a worthwhile experience. It gave you an insight into how the civil society works and made me want to take up more volunteering.
Excellent experience, very worthwhile.
I thought it was well-organised and I thoroughly enjoyed my exchange.
A very worthwhile experience, quite humbling to see such committed professional people working in challenging and difficult environment compounded by the reality of reducing funding.
I think it is a great idea because it reminded me (as part of central gov) of how different the challenges are for a small charity and how amazing the impact of their work can be.
An excellent service - really smooth in operation, and matched me very effectively with a local Director of a Social Enterprise. Exactly what I was looking for.
Very interesting, challenging and well worth the effort.
It was a worthwhile experience.
I thought it was an extremley beneficial scheme, enabling you to do something completely different for a day which you may have wanted to but never got round to organising yourself. I think it is a good way of fostering good relationships with other sectors and seeing the way they work.
Excellent. Very valuable use of time.
Very good, I shadowed a social enterprise and found my day fascinating and very very useful.
Excellent scheme. Opportunity to network with people who help make your job worthwhile particularly in economic uncertainty and pessimism. Reaaly valued learning about the NCVO and recognised how important the links with the NCVO and Government Dpts and local authorities are.
Really excellent. Taking part was one of the most rewarding things I've done at work for many years.
I thought it was very worth while and gave a real insight into the workins of people outside the Civil Service and a chance to see how other people work.
A very worthwhile opportunity and experience to appreciate the work of third sector organisations.
Enjoyable, with an interesting insight into a different sector and a useful reminder of the difference between general policy and specific/individual case impact.
Thankyou for the fantastic opportunity to see the way in which East Kent Mencap help their members with learning difficulties. Working with the fundraising and communications assistant gave an insight into the daily pressures that they as with many if not all local voluntary organisations are under to find funding. With a reasonable turn over their organisation is not small, but the larger the turnover the larger the commitments and improvements that they want to make. I saw many parallels in the work that they are doing on a local level and those of a central government department - most striking is that, as with any organisation it comes down to the people doing the work if they are committed the results can be staggering.
A very positive experience.
An excellent opportunity and a fascinating experience. It was exciting to be offered a privileged window in to another organisation, it's world, it's people, and how they work.
I found it very interesting, thought provoking and worthwhile. It was a really good opportunity to see the perspective of the third sector and their different priorities and ways of working.
A very useful insight into the work of the voluntary sector.
Very useful at gaining an insight in the difficulties of this sector and seeing how government can try to work better with them so that their voice is heard. tor.
Excellent experience: exposure to a different organisation / culture has enriched my perspective and approach to my own work -- as well as giving me insight into a civil society organisation and the challenges currently facing their sector.
Great opportunity to engage with front line services.
Really great way to take people out of their usual environment and take time to learn about how Government policy is used on the front line.
Excellent. Loved the fact NCVO did all the tricky matching. Shadow opportunity was great as gave insight into a completely different organisation and an opportunity to share ideas and learn from each others approaches. Have certainly implemented some ideas from my shadow day. Also the person I shadowed was a truly inspirational person.
Excellent idea. And so glad that the scheme took the strain of finding me someone to work shadow.
I agree with the aims of the scheme. It's particularly worthwhile for those who've had little or no experience of working in smaller, particularly voluntary, organisations and may have been shielded from some of the financial impacts of the current economic situation.
I found the experience to be of great value and really fascinating to get an insight into how The Prince's Trust operates.
Very good scheme.
It's a good opportunity to go outside DCLG and see and learn about other organisations and what they do.
I am really pleased that I took part in the scheme and I hope to maintain contact with my work shadow partner.
Excellent - so glad I did it, have learned a lot!
Thanks you for your hard work putting this valuable scheme together.
Not only did the scheme give me insight into work in a different sector it also provided an opportunity to reflect on and evaluate working practices in my organisation.
Very useful scheme.
Really just to repeat what I've said above. As a policy officer in central government who is very much tied to my desk it was refreshing and mind-opening to see how a community organisation operates on the ground. The wide-range of skills displayed were impressive and it was clear that the clients really valued the support they received. Quite humbling in fact
This is a fantastic initiative and it should be more widely publicised.
This is such an excellent opportunity. Getting out for a day repays itself many times over.
Advice and support
- Funding and finance
- Coping with cuts
- Addressing needs
- Managing change
- Planning for the future
- Involving people
- Public Service Delivery
- Governance and leadership
- Compact Advocacy programme
- Campaigning and influencing policy
- Collaborative working
- ICT (information and communication technology)
- Climate change
- People, HR and employment