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Testimonials from past LGE cohorts

"I'm not sure if imposter syndrome only affects women, but I certainly have suffered with a feeling that I'd overachieved at work for a long time, probably down to a lack of confidence and self-criticism. I really wanted to participate in the LGE leadership programme and was delighted and terrified when I was given a place.  Wondering whether I would make the grade against some of the county's very senior leaders. I didn't need to worry though the programme played right to my strengths of collaboration and delivery.  I made some great connections formed a really effective team of 5 two men and three women and we worked so well together to undertake a micro enquiry into bereavement in Essex.  I was really proud of my contribution and came away with a newfound confidence in my own ability to lead in this great county.

Sharon Harrington


I was in the first cohort of the Greater Essex leadership programme, and I would urge anyone thinking about it to take part. It helped me understand the Greater Essex Landscape, the partnership approach and how to work collaboratively to tackle wicked problems in our agencies and communities.

This learning has helped me. In October 2019, I was deployed as the strategic investigator to the tragic death of 39 victims that were found in Purfleet. Following this, I have worked heavily in the partnership environment; our intention was to bring together all key partners who can contribute to and enhance the overarching aim of preventing Organised Immigration Crime and protecting victims. When considering the learning from the investigation and the impact on victims and the wider community, it was clear that only a co-ordinated, whole-system, partnership approach would be our best hope at preventing anything similar from happening again and reducing the harm to future victims. This included working with a wide variety of partners, and I relied on my journey through the programme to help me navigate, win support and take forward the partnership together. In time I hope to be able to share the outcomes of this work with the programme, but I end where I started to say that this is a real journey that will help your leadership values.

Stuart Hooper, T/Detective Chief Superintendent, Essex Police


Hi…..I’m Tomi Platts. The next question is usually ‘what do I do’? Technically, I work as a Head of Portfolio for Essex County Council. The reality of what I do is that I work with a team of people to try and deliver changes which improve services for our residents.

When I was asked to participate in LGE2018 I didn’t really know what to expect. I found the first session in Southend (July 2018) intriguing and I started to think about some of the facts and insight which had been shared over those two days. Two in particular stayed with me – the rise of county lines in Essex and the impact of poor mental health. Weeks on, I couldn’t forget something I had heard…..1 in 4 people suffer from poor mental health at a point in their lives.

Fast forward to January 2019 and our small team of four (Paul Nagle and Tracey Harman (Essex Police); Luke McKenzie (Rochford District Council) and myself) were focused on mental health, specifically trying to understand the sorts of interventions which would be most effective in supporting those impacted by mental ill-health (focusing on those at the lower end of need).

As a team, we put ourselves out there. We’d made new relationships through LGE2018 and through these we heard people’s stories. From service users, commissioners, public, voluntary sector and providers, they trusted us with their stories and this was a privilege. Speaking honestly, it was hard and sometimes uncomfortable – this was new to us, we are not the experts.

Still, based on those interviews and research, we had an idea of the interventions and support which really made a difference and we held on the voices of those who shared their stories. But our question was….what next? What do we do next?

The sessions on public narrative were a revelation to me.  I know why I am passionate about good mental health but motivating people to care, to take action is one of the most important (and challenging) aspects of leadership. That is the way change happens, at all levels.

The public narrative sessions helped us to tell their story and ours, to understand  how to motivate you to care and to take action.  Because that is the way change happens, at all levels. What is the story we wanted to tell? To sum it up…our  LGE2018 interviews told us that:

  • The most effective thing we can do is create an environment which enables and encourages conversations about mental health. 
  • You don’t have to be a specialist to make a difference – acceptance and awareness came out across all our interviews
  • As employers you have a role in raising awareness – not necessarily prescribing the solution
  • Most importantly, a stark reminder of the Power of One and the difference one person can make

To #LGE2022 participants, I guess my advice to you would be….

Choose your tribe, choose your ‘subject’ carefully. It really is the relationships that make all the difference because it can be really uncomfortable. It gets tough. Sometimes I didn’t know what to expect (except the unexpected). As it turns out, that sums up system change pretty well. You will sometimes feel as if you are ‘mirroring’ the system you’re trying to affect or change.

That is why it is important to be with people who will pull you through it (and you will do the same for them). That is why it is important to choose a topic that you are passionate about; because when it gets hard (and it will); it is that passion and your tribe that will pull you through.

Good luck and enjoy!

Tomi Platts, Head of Portfolio, Essex County Council

James Sinclair and Tomi Platts (right)