The Chief Commoner, Tom Hoffman OBE, hosted an innovative conference at the Guildhall for sixth form and senior students from the schools in and around City of London. The purpose of the conference was to inspire the students and to make them think about their future career paths by giving them some insight into the workings of the City of London. It was also a valuable opportunity to bring many of them together to mix and get to know each other. There were several hundred students present from many schools in and around the City of London and each table had a senior City representative, including Masters of Livery Companies.

I was surprised and delighted to be invited to sit on the the stage by the Chief Commoner to substitute for the Town Clerk who could not be present this evening. I was introduced to the assembly as a "Town Clerk", the first time this title has been used for my role in local government for many years!

There were presentations to the students from various Directors and Heads of Service of the City, after which there was some lively debate and question and answer sessions. Those on the stage were put on the spot several times by the students with their insightful questions and arguments. We were also given 15 seconds to persuade a Minister to "take some action" over a number of issues that had been highlighted as critical by the students, which was good fun and made us all think quickly on our feet.

After the conference I took the opportunity to chat with some of the students who told me that they felt that it was a useful session which had given them some food for thought and opened their eyes to the many career opportunities available in the City of London and local government more generally. All in all a very interesting and informative conference.