About Citizen R

Thank you for visiting! I’m Siân Rowland, Citizen R. I started this blog while in post so was anonymous but am now self-employed so can emerge from the cover of my pseudonym.

I come from a teaching background and have worked as a local authority education adviser for several years. I was made redundant in March 2011 as part of the spending cuts and I recorded the dying days of life as we know it in public sector land. I’m now a independent consultant with that portfolio career I always wanted. Which is starting slowly but gaining a little momentum.

All opinions are my own.  Read more about my journey in this post and feel free to post a comment if you visit.

Read more in my interview with The Guardian. 

Read more in my interview with The Financial Times.

Listen to my interview with Canadian Radio (CBC) here.

The Guardian Live Q&A on surviving redundancy in the public sector with me on the panel of experts

A mention in We Love Local Government.


9 Responses to About Citizen R

  1. Kate says:

    I had a similar experience with my invoices – often the post pixie took a week to transport them from my office to the mysterious people in the paying of invoices department. Often, the same mysterious people said they hadn’t received them and I don’t think I ever managed to speak to the same person twice. Indeed at one stage every person I ever rang went on long term sick leave – nothing to do with my phone call I hasten to say.

    Eventually I spoke to a manager. He explained that the invoices were placed in alphabetical order and tackled accordingly. I pointed out that this might mean that if your name was Zebedee, you could theoretically never be paid. He dismissed my concern somewhat arrogantly by explaining that every other week they began with the letter Z. So, that’s ok then. . . unless your name begins with M – as does mine. I suggested, as an external management consultant and former public servant, that they needed my services. . .

    Love your blog!

  2. JGH says:

    A friend of mine once worked for an unnamed government national valuation agency…

    Each week his department processed hundreds of letters to property owners with information on their assessments. To get discount postage rates these had to be sorted by destination post sector. The letters were printed in property reference number order. So, each week two days were spent sorting all the letters into postcode order in order to give them to the Royal Mail pickup.

    In something like his second week my friend spend fifteen seconds creating a temporary copy of the database, sorting that by postcode, and printing it out. Three days work done in fifteen seconds.

    He was diciplined.

  3. JGH says:

    Apparently his line manager told him something like: if we get three days’ work done in 30 minutes we can’t justify the how much we’re charging!

  4. Jenny Purt says:

    Hi Citizen R,

    My name is Jenny Purt and I work for the Guardian’s brand new Local Government Network.

    Next Wednesday (24 November) from 12 to 3pm we are running a live Q&A session in the form of a redundancy clinic for pubic sector workers. The session will look at what to do if your job is at risk or you are being made redundant. We aim to give users the practical know-how in what they should be doing legally, financially and how to proceed in looking for a new job.

    Having read your blog I was wondering if you would like to join our panel? They would be required to answer questions from our users and contribute to the panel’s discussion. With direct experience of this, you would make an excellent addition to our panel.

    The written discussion will take place on line allowing panelists to participate from any location with internet access.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,


  5. George Fripley says:

    Hi Sian,

    I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but if satire is your thing, you might be interested in You Can’t Polish A Turd – the Civil Servants Manual.
    All the best


  6. Hannah says:


    Tracy Riccio suggested I contact you for a story I’m writing tomorrow about employment – it would be great if you could email me at Hannah.kuchler@ft.com.

    Thank you,


  7. Sophie says:

    I’m writing from Penguin where I’m working on a research project about business blogs in preparation for a publicity blitz on a new book about Apple. My colleague has asked me to compile statistics about the top UK business blogs, specifically, readership figures. I know your blog is more biographical than being ‘just’ business, but it’s still been listed in top business blog lists! Could you tell me the monthly readership figures for the Citizen R blog?

    Thanks in advance for all your help.



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