What we’re reading – 6/12/10

Why wellbeing is a big deal. Warren Hatter draws together a plethora of different viewpoints to analyse the new ‘happiness’ measure. He explores the idea that this should ‘provide both local and national metrics, with a clear understanding that national wellbeing is the sum total of wellbeing in all localities, and that a course should be explicitly charted towards such measures being part of the national accounts.’

Council attack Pickles’ reserve claims. Eric’s suggestion that councils could mitigate the effects of the recession by dipping into their reserves drew instant response from the local government community.

Andy Sawford was also asked to comment in the article. He noted that Pickles had raised a legitimate issue, but his tone was ‘not particularly helpful when councils are trying to engage their publics in complex discussions about the future’.

Baroness Margaret Eaton, chair of the Local Government Association, pointed out that reserves ‘can only be spent once’ and do not represent a long-term solution to the sector’s financial problems.LGA vice chair Richard Kemp said Pickles was ‘spraying mud around to hide the fact we’re facing a very difficult spending review’.

City Forward – an interesting look into the future? City Forward is ‘a free, web-based platform that enables city officials, researchers, academics and interested citizens world-wide to view and interact with city data while engaging in an ongoing public dialogue’ <– here’s a nice little video to explain all.

Online help for communities setting up post offices. Consumer Focus and the Social Enterprise Coalition have compiled a directory of 70 existing community post offices to assist neighbourhoods in setting up their own branch and to help those that already exist.

The resource, which was developed by CF Labs, the online arm of watchdog Consumer Focus, is the first of its kind, listing community post offices around the country, explaining what they do and how they’ve done it, so others can learn from their example.

The launch of the resource seems rather timely, as changes to the network announced recently, affecting around 2,000 post offices, may see many more communities looking to run their own branch.