Over ten years of austerity across public services have left their mark on local communities. Councils face a number of wicked policy issues, be it growing inequalities and child poverty, lack of affordable housing, climate justice or the crisis of public health. Yet, there is a new municipalism that is emerging, one that advances new forms of political leadership and local action, inhouse services, municipal entrepreneurship and stewardship of place. Local authority housing companies have mushroomed within councils, while novel forms of income-generation, community wealth building and social value production have taken hold as councils have looked to keep the public spend in localities and forge new ways of working with communities.
Now is the time to take stock of these innovations and transformations and to put in place the pillars of a sustainable local government for the future. As it happens, the APSE Local Government Commission 2030 is tasked with doing that just that. The Commission will identify and assess the capabilities and capacities of local government, capturing good practice and how local councils can advance a new municipalism and vision for the next ten years. But, to do so effectively, it needs you to have your say on the key challenges facing local government. It needs to hear from you.
The Commission is currently gathering evidence from local authorities, think tanks, trade unions and professional bodies. It will be working to do so through to May 2020. Its call for evidence was initially scheduled to close on 16 December 2019 but given the unexpected General Election the Commission is accepting submissions into early January to enable councils and organisations who have been engaged in election activity to still participate. The evidence gathering stage will be followed by a series of evidence days and visits to local authorities and professional organisations. And, as its thinking unfolds, it will publish its emerging thinking for comment and discussion. Over the summer of 2020, Commissioners will then draft their final report before once again hitting the road to test out their proposals and recommendations with the different communities of local government.
The Commissioners want to hear from as many different viewpoints as possible, from as many individuals, groups and organisations with an interest in local government and local communities as possible. Evidence and views are currently being welcomed on the future role of local government from stewardship of place through to local funding regimes, workforce capacities and service provision and on to local democracy, community leadership, equality and diversity and centre-local relations.
Your response does not need to cover all of the priority areas specified and you can just focus on those that are relevant to you or your organisation. Whatever your contribution, we encourage you to have your say and help shape how we build the future of local government. Keep-up-to-date on the work of the Commission on the dedicated Commission hub which is hosted on the APSE website, where you will find details of oral evidence gathering events, briefings and Commission news.
Neil Barnett, Arianna Giovannini and Steven Griggs
APSE Local Government Commission 2030