HIGH ranking Government officials from the Fujian province of China spent a day with senior officers from Cambridgeshire County Council as part of a two-week visit to Britain.
The 21-strong party – all at the equivalent of Chief Executive level in their counties – were visiting to gain an insight into leading public services and to develop their knowledge of the Western world.
They wanted to enhance their individual leadership skills and leave with a more strategic vision of how local government operates in this country, with particular focus on understanding city planning and management, ecological sustainability, urban development and transportation.
The afternoon of their final day was spent at Shire Hall, where they heard presentations from County Council Chief Executive Mark Lloyd, Executive Director of Children and Young People’s Services and Adult Social Care Adrian Loades, and Director of Strategy and Development in Environment Services Graham Hughes.
Mark Lloyd and Adrian Loades talked about leadership, the move to locality working and local government taxation, while Graham Hughes gave a presentation about major projects in the county such as the Guided Busway, improving the environment in Cambridge city centre and initiatives to encourage cycling.
Earlier in the day Communications and Media Manager Simon Cobby spoke to the group about public service relationships with the media in the UK.
The Fujian province is one of China’s richest. It covers an area of 123,000 square kilometres and has a population of 35 million. The delegates visiting Shire Hall are responsible for counties with populations ranging from 160,000 to 1.5 million.
Other high profile speakers throughout their fortnight in Cambridge included Master of Churchill College Sir David Wallace, former Lord Mayor of the City of London Sir John Stuttard and Scottish entrepreneur Azeem Ibrahim.
The delegates visited the Houses of Parliament, the Bank of England, the Mansion House in London, Oxford, Bath and Cardiff – and The Eagle pub in Cambridge.
Mark Lloyd said: “We were delighted to welcome to Fujian delegates to Shire Hall, to share examples of best practice and approaches to leading large and complex public services. Although Cambridgeshire is a fraction of the size of the Fujian province, it shares many features such as strong growth, a rising population and a thriving economy. We also share the challenges arising from this success – managing that growth and development, while at the same time protecting the environment. In the longer term, links forged with these very senior officials leave the door open for Chinese investment in Cambridgeshire’s economy.”