Held our one day policy seminar today in Manchester's Hilton Hotel - the tallest building in England outside of Canary Wharf. The Future of Local Government: Turning the strategic vision into front line service reality, was the title, and we had a good debate on the issues emerging.
Stuart Hoggan, Deputy-Director, Local Democracy at DCLG opened, setting the scene around devolution and autonomy, Marcial Boo, Head of Policy at the Audit Commission followed and gave the lowdown on the new performance framework. Both got some interesting questions around CAA and how you ensured that your performance was not downgraded by your capacity (or not) to control your local partners. Or as I have describded it elsewhere 'Its like being a Circus Lion-tamer without the stool or whip.
The Council Leader at Trafford, Councillor Susan Williams, gave a speech and it was refreshing for someone not to use powerpoint and to speak from the heart. All in all it was a good event and I even got to go to the Clouds Lounge on the 23rd Floor, where you can walk on a transparent glass floor - okay for non-vertigo suffers.
After the event it was a mad dash to Edinburgh for the Full Association the next day.