There are 49 item(s) tagged with the keyword "local government".
Viewed with suspicion by some, belittled by others, derided by the media both locally and nationally, over worked and underpaid. For some a wider career ending move with little reward at the end, with even the possibility of a small pension set to be removed by Ministers.
Managing a significant but diminishing budget, making cuts to services the vulnerable rely on and staff redundant, it’s all in a day’s work in the current economic environment.
More and more councils are emphasising the development of commercial strategies and skills in order to hold services together and give them a fighting chance in the current age of austerity.
Some commentators may view local government, innovation and entrepreneurship as unlikely bedfellows. But I see evidence all over country that a commercial culture is expanding and flourishing amongst council staff.
This article is based on a recent column I did for the MJ magazine.
What will local government look like in 2020? My answer is that it will depend significantly on what elected members and officers want it to look like and the policy choices they make.
Whilst I accept that central government decisions will always have an impact in shaping local government, it is members and officers, in conjunction with the local public, who will decide what the political vision for an area is, what outcomes are pursued to achieve this and how this is implemented through the services the council is responsible for providing and delivering.
Someone who has influenced my thinking on local government greatly over the past couple of decades has this week published a new book, 'A Guide to Solar PV Projects - in Local Government and the Public Sector'. The first books of Stephen Cirell's that I read were thick local government law encyclopaedias around Compulsory Competitive Tendering, followed by similar tomes on Best Value, then the Private Finance Initiative and Charging and Trading. So how does someone go from this background into the arena of climate change, renewable energy and energy efficiency? And do they know anything about the topic?
Eight steps to becoming a greener council
Firstly, there needs to be political buy in at the highest level. This is about the Council leading on tackling one of the biggest public policy issues of our time; it requires political vision, commitment and leadership.
Secondly, you need to do an audit of the local area, what natural assets are at your disposal will depend which strands of renewables or energy efficiency measures are most appropriate.
My latest column from MJ
The recent LGA report into future financing signalled that the very role and shape of local government in the UK is hurtling towards a significant crossroads. What it showed was that based on current projections there will be a £16.5bn shortfall in council budgets by 2020.
It predicted that 45% of budgets will be spent on social services by the end of the decade due to increased need and with waste collection also creating significant cost pressures, services such as road maintenance, libraries and leisure could see their budgets eroded by 90% compared to present comparative levels.
The latest funding crisis report has brought into even sharper focus the debate on what future role and shape local government should have.
Should it play a meaningful role in acting as a catalyst for local society and the local economy or should it play a passive role emasculated of any real capacity to influence and shape with regard to the dominant public policy and social issues of the day?
There was a real feel of local government being at a crossroads around the LGA conference in Birmingham this week, particularly as the LGA launched its report into future financing to coincide with the start of the event. What it showed was that based on current projections there will be a £16.5b shortfall on council budgets by 2020.
APSE has welcomed the debate about school meals that has been opened up as a result of schoolgirl Martha Payne's blog.
The 'Never Seconds' blog by the nine-year-old from Lochgilphead, Argyll has put school food under the media spotlight. We have campaigned for the highest standards in school food and believes that opening up debate will give school meals the importance they deserve politically.
Martha's blog takes a balanced view and her experience of food at school is positive overall. Though some meals appear less appetising than others, her latest ‘food-o-meter’ score rated her school lunch 10/10.
Having met with three very different local government chief executives recently I was struck by the commonality of understanding of the challenges that council’s face in the coming years. Fiona Lees from East Ayrshire, Manjeet Gill from West Lindsey and Carolyn Downs of the LGA all shared a vision that the answers to the tough times ahead would be found in working closely with and within local communities.
With demographic change towards people living longer we know that a smaller percentage will be working in the future and that there will be greater demands for care services amongst an increasing elderly population. With increasing social problems created by alcohol and drugs, the number of children being looked after is also rising.