Your county, your way: ‘If Carlsberg did councils….’*

If you’re regular reader of this blog then you might have noticed a sense of excitement in the air here in Monmouthshire as we are experiencing some radical changes.

Our approach as people in the council is to provide services and support to give you your county on your terms. More on this later in this post.

Monmouthshire coming home

The most visible thing you’ll see is that the hundreds of council staff who used to work in County Hall in our neighbour county of Torfaen are now housed in a spanky new building in Magor and other places in the Monmouthshire. We are working with a desk/person ratio of 1:2, this means we’re being more efficient, more mobile and not wasting space with unused office space. These geographical changes are a symbol of a much deeper transformation.

Our people are changing

We have recognised that in times of austerity we need to shape up and embrace the opportunity to be better.

We are thinking and acting differently. We’re toying with the idea: ‘what would really good look like?’ and borrowing from the old advertising slogan of ‘If Carlsberg did councils…’*. Seriously, we want to become fantastic at delivering services, we want to be your council, your way.

Our vision

How do we sum up what we’re all about?

Our focus is not just on doing things we do better but on doing better things. In other words, completely shaking our work up to ensure we use our skills to work on making people’s lives better, rather than just doing good work. This change can really affect how we make decisions and means we have to get much better at understanding and listening to the people of Monmouthshire. As Kellie Beirne says in her post on this blog: “why pre-occupy ourselves with quality of services when its quality of life that’s the important?”.

Part of our thinking is that now we are bracing ourselves to be people who constantly change to adapt to the needs of individuals and communities. Each person and community has differing requirements and we need to be able to support your lives and businesses in the way you need it, not with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We don’t work for ‘the council’; we work for the people of Monmouthshire.

To sum it up our mantra for work is:

Your county, your way

We’re taking this seriously and there is no start or end date – we’re changing to become changing people.

How would you describe a brilliant council?

Back to the idea of ‘If Carlsberg did councils…’*. If you could explain a fantastic council in 20 words or fewer, what would you say? Have you got a better mantra we could work to? We’d love you to share your suggestions in the comments below.

You can read more about some of the ambition in previous posts from Paul Matthews and Kellie Beirne and our next blog post next week introducing the ‘Monmouthshire rewind stories‘.
If Carlsberg did nature – by Ellesmere FNC, from Flickr
Posted by Helen in Communications

*Monmouthshire County Council in no way endorses Carlsberg over any other brand of lager and fully supports advice on responsible drinking. The slogan borrowed here is meant to illustrate an idea of perfection which the advert encapsulates in a way we think readers will respond to and understand.


  1. Great blog post.
    As a family and small business we moved to Monmouthshire for a better quality of life and sense of community.
    Running a small business is a challenge (particularly in these tough times) but through building excellent relationships across the county we are finding that people do want to trade locally.
    The sense of community will strengthen all of our businesses and relationships.
    It is refreshing to see a Council that is accessible, approachable and open with it’s community. We are in this together and we are 100% sure that Monmouthshire is THE best place to be!

  2. We’d like Paul Matthews and Kellie Beirne, along with Cllrs Peter Fox and Bob Greenland, to address, honestly and transparently, the issues contained here.
    For as long as there is such dissonance between what you say and what you actually do, your words will ring hollow to Monmouthshire citizens and simply create yet more cynicism with the democratic process.

    • Hello Sue, thanks very much for commenting here again. We are going through a period of change and willing to accept that the way we worked before wasn’t perfect – we do want to change to embody the phrase ‘your council, your way’. We appreciate your point and would once again extend the invitation to meet officers here at MCC to discuss it more. We understand you had a chat with officers on Twitter where a meeting was arranged but you weren’t able to make it. The offer to talk stands and we hope to hear from you soon.

  3. My years of involvement with MCC have taught me that the fine rhetoric in their policies, values and blogs (as above) is not matched by their actions, which often contradict the rhetoric. The blog asks how I would describe a brilliant Council in less than 20 words. Here’s how:

    “A brilliant Council is one that listens to people before acting, and the listening shows in its actions.”

    • Hi Barry, thanks for your comments – we can understand how you felt about not seeing outcomes you wanted in previous years. This is exactly what we want to improve on and we are grateful you are engaging with us here. We think your description is spot on and we’d love to hear any ideas on how we can do that better, or how you’d like to get involved more.

    • Hi, thanks for your comment. We do have a system to approve comments on this site in case there is any unsavoury language or in case a comment could be interpreted as abusive or offensive. We do our best to answer and learn from critisms but of course we have lots to learn and have much to do to improve. Thanks again, Helen (blog moderator).

      • Thank you Helen, I can understand offensive language not being allowed. But if you don’t accept posts which are critical of the council, and I am very critical of this council having been forced to take them to the high court for the way they have behaved. What do you end up with?
        So you accept posts saying how wonderful MCC is, but not those highly critical of the illegal way MCC carries out it’s duties, and it’s those posts which will make MCC improve, if they are listened too.
        At the moment there is a culture within MCC of protecting each other’s backs when something goes wrong, and not dealing with it head on, so how do you learn and improve?

      • Thanks Chris, I do understand your frustration and I will take responsibility for not posting your comment from a few weeks back. I often publish critical comments but where comments are targeted at individuals and make unsubstantiated allegations/personal criticisms of officers I do hold back. I hope you can appreciate that I want to drive debate without staff or residents feeling they’ve been unfairly treated. In those cases I do forward the comments for the relevant people’s attention and the comments are noted. Apologies if you feel that this was an over-zealous censorship – I think I will put together some guidelines about how comments are treated and I’d be very grateful for your feedback on those.
        We do want to improve and we don’t always get things right but hopefully we can get better by having a conversation about issues that affect Monmouthshire without people feeling attacked.
        If you think there is a way I can help you with some of the things you mentioned in your previous comments, for instance putting you in touch with someone in the council you’d feel comfortable speaking to, or getting hold of some information, please let me know. Helen

  4. Thank you for moderating this, and allowing my comments to stand.

    Here’s a question: How do we make MCC more accountable?

    My suggestion is a law change, so that anyone breaking policy can be sued for the damage that the breaking of that policy causes.

    What does anyone else think?

  5. Re: comment from Chris, I agree. There has been a desperate lack of scrutiny over much MCC business in recent years and one way to increase accountability is to improve scrutiny. The present scrutiny committees seem to be paper tigers.

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