Webinars and articles 

We offer free webinars on a range of topics to give you a chance to join our expert Workshop Directors and speakers in discussing current governance, policy and public sector management issues.   The webinars usually last 60 to 90 minutes and, in addition to presentations by speakers with wide international experience, you can ask questions, take part in online discussions and polls and chat with other participants from across the world.    We look forward to welcoming you and your colleagues to one of our webinars soon.

Our Workshop Directors, consultants and speakers are keen to share their insights into developments in public administration and international development in areas such as the Rule of Law and Democracy, Leadership and Resilience during the Global Pandemic and Integrity in the Public Sector.

To view these recorded webinars please kindly complete the form below and we will email you a link to the webinar video.

Below you will also see articles written by some of our Workshops Directors.  If you have any comments or if you would like to contribute an article, please get in touch with us at pai@public-admin.co.uk. We would be delighted to hear from you.

Upcoming webinars 

Please click the upcoming webinars link above for new webinars.


Making Better Policy: Using evidence effectively

Many countries across the world strive to make better public policy by using an evidence-based approach to the policy making process. There is often disagreement, however, as to what constitutes ‘evidence’ and how it can be used at different stages of the policy process. This webinar will start by reviewing how evidence can be used to inform decision making throughout the different stages of the policy process. We will consider what constitutes ‘evidence’ and how it interacts with the driving forces of policy – belief, ideology and values. The ‘sweet spot’ of good policy making is where evidence, politics and delivery overlap. We will look at other factors that contribute to making better policy, including:

  • Stakeholder engagement (rather than just consultation)
  • In-depth understanding of the problem-in-hand
  • Thinking broadly about policy options that might address the problem
  • Using evidence to establish what has worked effectively and efficiently elsewhere 
  • Developing a delivery plan before the policy is rolled out
  • Building effective monitoring and evaluation into the policy process

The webinar will highlight case studies from different countries to illustrate how evidence has helped make better policy and avoid policy failure. Our presenter Philip Davies From 2000-20007 Philip was a senior civil servant in the UK Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, responsible for policy evaluation and analysis. Before joining the Cabinet Office, he was a University Lecturer in Social and Political Science at the University of Oxford, and he has held academic positions at the University of Aberdeen and the University of California, San Diego. Philip has substantive expertise in health and health care, education, social welfare, crime and justice, and international development. He has taught courses on policy evaluation, evidence-based policy making, and the analysis and use of evidence across the UK and in the USA, Canada, and various countries in Europe, Africa, Australasia and the Caribbean.

Give Us The Facts: Using data to improve public services

There are more data in the world than most people could ever imagine. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 [1021] bytes.

Of course, data in itself is not the end game. Gathering and analysing data can be an expensive business so we must maximise our use of the right data. There will be specific data for every organisation that will help to overcome problems, improve services, facilitate good decision-making. In turn, data becomes an important asset to design better policies and implement them more effectively – so it is important that we know how to use the right data in the right way. This free webinar is not designed for data analysts or data specialists but for leaders and managers who need to understand how data can be used. We will look at four specific things to get the right results:

  • Gathering the right data
  • Analysing the data to provide valuable management information
  • Making better decisions
  • Communicating the results clearly and effectively.

Webinar Speaker This webinar will be led by Rob Clark. Rob’s main areas of specialisation are in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL), Change Management, Project Management Consultancy, Programme Support Services and Training. This experience has been gained through involvement with public and private sector organisations at all levels. Rob was formerly Head of Project Services for Atkins, one of Europe’s largest engineering and management consultancies, where he led a team of 30+ project management specialists.

A modern dilemma matching procurement practice to policy

The recent global Covid-19 pandemic has brought about new challenges for professionals from all disciplines. This has, of course, included considerable pressures on the health sector but has also highlighted a range of related challenges, including:

  • The need to maintain essential services
  • Continuity of supply for essential products
  • Managing the supply chain, sometimes with the loss of established suppliers
  • Procuring supplies at short notice
  • Supplier cash flow demands
  • Managing the tensions between urgent service delivery needs and traditional policies, especially when previously untried suppliers are used for sourcing at short notice.

Even without the unusual pressures of a pandemic, procurement professionals and service managers have to make sound purchasing decisions and have clear procurement and contract planning procedures. These are crucial not just for delivering effective services and achieving end outcomes, but are also key in terms of:

  • The overall procurement process
  • Legislative and regulatory compliance
  • Demonstrating how effective procurement is essential for continuity of supply of goods and services
  • Supporting organisational policies by, for example, procuring sustainable goods and services and tracking this through the supply chain.

For many policy makers and procurement professionals, the establishment and maintenance of an effective process for taking procurement decisions is an important piece in the management jigsaw. Successful procurement, as well as good supplier and supply chain management, are a powerful combination in delivering services to the public, in line with organisational objectives. This webinar will examine all these issues. Our presenter will be David Wells. David leads PAI’s regular Successful Procurement in the 21st Century professional development workshop, which is planned to take place in Dubai (7-11 June 2021) and in London (25 October–5 November 2021).

The Role of Parliaments in Times of Crisis:                                                    Front line players, referees – or just noisy spectators

The global pandemic has had massively disruptive and worrying consequences for us all. It has impacted hugely upon the people and governments of nearly every country and region, worldwide. Moreover, in many countries the impact of COVID-19 has been compounded by and has sometimes exacerbated other, pre-existing, critical economic, social and political challenges – not least, in the United Kingdom, where the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded alongside the long-running saga of Brexit. This webinar will consider the constitutional and procedural impact on parliaments of major crises, using the UK’s recent experiences both of the COVID-19 crisis and of Brexit for purposes of illustration.

We will consider:

  • The constitutional and representative role of parliaments in the 21st century
  • The constitutional impacts of the COVID crisis and Brexit on the role and status of UK parliaments
  • Recent procedural developments in response to recent major crises – and their longer-term implication

Better regulation

Regulating society effectively has never been more important, given the pressures of the COVID-19 crisis. But what is the best way to regulate? Governments worldwide have tried to find satisfactory solutions to this question. In recent years there has been growing interest in the “better regulation” agenda, including alternatives to legislation.

Our free webinar taking place on 5 November at 1.30 p.m. will discuss:

  • Principles of good regulation, including best UK and international practice
  • Persuasion rather than compulsion – the power of behavioural science (“nudge”) at a time of crisis
  • The regulatory landscape including political and technical levels
  • Regulatory governance and accountability

This session will be led by Matthew Cox, a former senior civil servant, with over 24 years’ experience in the UK civil service. Between 2007 and 2008 he worked in the Government’s Better Regulation Executive on relations between local and national regulators.

Leading yourself and others through challenging times

Never has there been a more important time for leaders to be self-aware about their own impact and well-being and to lead their people to meet the challenges of the pandemic and the shift to a ‘new normal ‘. Leadership remains a key capability for transformational leaders. However, those who ‘stand out’ are adapting their styles, remaining calm and optimistic and getting the best out of their people as they lead their organizations through change and challenging working conditions. Leaders lead their people as individuals and teams to build and create additional levels of skills and performance to be able to deal with setbacks and maintain a positive approach to new ways of working.

The webinar looks at four key aspects of leadership:

  • The challenges of leading in current challenging times
  • Approaches that make a difference to success
  • The leadership behaviours to focus on
  • Personal leadership challenges and steps to increase effectiveness

Why is monitoring and evaluation so important using data in the fight against COVID-19

It is well recognised that sound and timely monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes are vital to the delivery of successful outcomes in both the business and international development worlds. In fact there has rarely been so much interest in the use of M&E techniques - particularly the use of data and analytics – to keep control of interventions and to use the results to inform policy decisions and practical actions.

During the webinar and questions and answer session we will use examples from the Coronavirus pandemic and examples from business/development programmes and discuss the difficulties encountered and options for improvement in getting the right results.

Supply chain management

Traditionally, procuring organisations tended to focus their attention on the immediate suppliers or service providers. However, in more recent times, it has become more prevalent for procurement teams and their organisations to realise the importance of understanding the whole supply chain concept. In the time available, the webinar can only give a flavour of the process but we will examine the following areas:

  • Identifying the supply chain and its component parts;
  • Relationships within the chain and the organisation;
  • The impact on the ultimate deliverables;
  • How to overcome ‘breakages’ within the chain;
  • Managing the process in a crisis such as the current pandemic;
  • Understanding the whole risk theory.

Justice and the COVID crisis viral threats to the rule of law

The rule of law is internationally recognised as a fundamental constitutional principal that underpins democratic governance and respect for human rights. However, national and international responses to the current COVID-19 pandemic have revealed some of its weaknesses. In many countries, emergency measures have severely restricted citizens’ freedoms. Tough-talking political leaders, already resistant to challenges in the courts, have sometimes used the crisis to justify fresh attacks on judicial independence. The huge economic consequences of the pandemic have resulted in major financial cuts to legal services which have impacted seriously on citizens’ rights of fair and equal access to justice.

This webinar will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the rule of law:

  • International definitions of the rule of law
  • What does the rule of law really mean in practice?
  • Judicial independence – myth or reality?
  • Challenges to fair and equal access to justice

A Single Version of the Truth: Rebuilding confidence in institutions through better information

In the aftermath of the disputed US election, ex-President Barack Obama has been talking about the need for all of us to be able to find and agree what he describes as a ‘common set of facts’ as the basis on which to debate policies and explore futures. This theme was explored in our article by Workshop Director, Neil McCallum, on ‘a single version of the truth,’ earlier this year. Perhaps never before have we so needed the effective collection, collation, categorisation and management of information to identify our way forward, whether it is in combating a pandemic, rebuilding our economies or healing a fractured nation.

This free webinar, led by Neil, will consider what this means in reality, in particular in respect of public sector information. It will touch on the underlying principles of effective information management, where this is taking us today and offer you an opportunity to be part of this critically important debate.


Do national crises encourage dictatorship?

Recent experiences of Covid-19 and Brexit in the UK

Professor Gavin Drewry, PAI Workshop Director

Some of you may recognise this as a portrait of Henry VIII, King of England from 1509 to 1547. Henry is remembered for many things, not least for his six wives. The fate of those unhappy women – three of whom were peremptorily divorced and two of whom were executed on trumped up charges – contains the glimmering of a clue as to what this reference to a despotic 16th century English monarch might have to do with 21st century words like ‘dictatorship’, ‘Covid-19’ and ‘Brexit read more...

Leadership in the time of Coronavirus

Philip Champness, PAI Workshop Director   In January Chinese scientists reported a deadly new virus - coronavirus or COVID-19 - that spread from person to person and caused an acute respiratory disease. Of the first 99 cases 17% needed critical care and 11 people died read more...

In search of a single version of the truth

Written by Neil McCallum, Workshop Director, PAI professional development workshop on Effective Records and Information Management: Practical approaches.

We have until very recently been living in an age which has witnessed the progressive dismissal of the role of facts, the value of statistics and the concept of expertise in favour of confident, increasingly combative assertions of certainty read more...

Your latest challenge is ………. how to maintain supplies?

Written by Dave Wells, PAI Workshop Director for our Procurement programmes

The global Covid-19 pandemic and the different impacts on Government services and the private sector alike have brought a new focus for professionals from all disciplines. One of the foremost areas affected has been that of procurement read more...

Reasons to be cheerful:                        An accountant looks beyond Coronavirus

Written by Ken MacNeill, PAI Workshop Director for our Finance and Corporate Governance programmes

Most managers and finance staff will have worked hard to prepare budgets for this or the upcoming financial year. These carefully crafted financial plans are now often ruined because of Coronavirus. Income has often fallen, possibly read more...