The new chair of the iNetwork Executive Board, Alison McKenzie Folan, Chief Executive of Wigan Council, boasts over three decades of public sector experience. In conversation with our new chair, Alison has said the below when asked;

Why are you proud to be the Chair of iNetwork?

I am incredibly proud to be the new chair of iNetwork. I have been involved with iNetwork for some time and there is no doubt it is a real asset for progressive organisations across the north of England. The network has a really strong track record over the past 20 years for driving forward innovation in public services which makes a huge difference to people’s lives in our communities.

In the public sector we are all dealing with similar issues but one solution does not fit all – so it is crucial to have that space and time to learn and be inspired by others. It’s also an incredibly friendly network made up of lovely, genuine and talented people and so really helps foster that strong and honest peer network and long-term friendships. So I couldn’t be prouder to become the new chair.

How has iNetwork inspired you to develop professionally and support change within your organisation? 

At Wigan we have always been a big supporter and had strong representation on the networks and attended the events, awards, meetings and conferences. Whether that is in relation to transformation, procurement or data, iNetwork has been a constant source of knowledge for us.

I think also importantly it is a tight-knit community and a supportive network that helps give professionals confidence and advice if they are trying something new. So I think it has developed a great balance between knowledge sharing, bringing inspiration and peer support and given the demands we are all facing in our working week that is a really valuable offer to be a part of.

Why should people and organisations get involved with iNetwork?

I think given the challenges and opportunities we are facing across the public, private and third sector in the coming decade it is absolutely essential to be an outward facing and learning organisation. Having opportunities to share and collaborate strengthens not just those who are listening but those who are sharing knowledge too. Listening, sharing, and wanting to know more about others benefits individuals and organisations. I think this is one of the greatest strengths of the public sector. The collaboration, the willingness to support each other and raise each other up and the friendships.

So if you are not already I would definitely encourage you to get involved with iNetwork and join the more than 90 fantastic organisations who are already members.