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LGiU Policy Briefings

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LGiU briefings can be accessed by elected members and officers in LGiU member authorities – and those on free trials. Check if your authority is a member or on a free trial. Briefings can also be downloaded at a cost to non-members.

Our briefings are written by our network of LGiU Associates. Find out more about our briefing authors here.

Search tip: Please note that when searching for a term or phrase, such as care bill or better care fund, you should frame the words in speech marks – e.g “care bill” or “better care fund”. Search findings are listed chronologically.

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Weekly Policy Summary – 29th August

August 29, 2014

This briefing can also be viewed as a pdf.   LGiU is looking for an Events Intern to provide support to our wide-ranging autumn programme of work, including supporting our roundtables, Party Conference fringe events and the rest of our …

Welfare Reform Update: August 2014

August 28, 2014

This briefing is a further update on developments in welfare reform, updating developments in selected aspects to early August 2014. Covered are the latest statistics and analyses on the benefits cap, the social sector size criteria, the Work Capability Assessment, and progress in Personal Independence Payments (PIPs). The DWP has published interim evaluations of the benefits cap and the social sector size criteria, and more data is available from reports published by Real Life Reform and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. There is also an update on Universal Credit implementation, an update from the latest statistical release on the Work Programme, and commentary on the new sanctions regime. There is lengthy section on how local government is involved in the welfare reform programme, notably through the Direct Payments Demonstration Projects and the Universal Credit Implementation Pilots.

By March 2014, just over 1,553,000 claimants had been referred to the Work Programme, of which just over 848,000 are still on the scheme. There has been a rise in the proportion of claimants referred to the programme attracting a job outcome payment and there has been some improvement in performance for ESA claimants. JSA sanctioning activity is currently running at record levels.

This briefing will be of most interest to councillors and members in all types of authority with an interest in social services, welfare, housing, finance, and poverty reduction.

Weekly Policy Summary – 22 August

August 22, 2014

This briefing can also be viewed as a .pdf. You may have seen links to the Commission on the Future of the Home Care Workforce - we’re looking at how home care workers can be better trained and compensated. We are having …

Do academies make use of their autonomy? – DfE research

August 22, 2014

This briefing is on the DfE research report: Do academies make use of their autonomy? published on 9 July 2014. The report was done by DfE research staff and not externally commissioned. Also published on the same day was the DfE Academies annual report 2012 -2013 and a further DfE commissioned research report: The Evolving education system in England: a ‘temperature check’ (CSN/LGIU Briefing pending)
Linked to the briefing for information are a series of Academy sponsor profile reports which were published on 23 May 2014. These were produced with established academy chains and provide further early evidence of academy progress intended to inform new sponsors of previous examples of success.
This briefing will be of interest to teachers, school leaders, governors and parents involved in academies and across the rest of the maintained sector, local authority officers and members, and those working nationally in policy development and research in related areas.

Dedicated Schools Grant 2015-16 final arrangements and DfE policy intentions

August 21, 2014

The Department for Education (DfE) published (17 July 2014) its plans for school funding in the 2015-16 financial year. This included the plans for Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding in 2015-16 – the funding of schools maintained by local authorities – and looked at the longer-term reform of schools funding.
This briefing will be of interest to all those responsible for school funding and education generally.

More planning reforms: technical consultation

August 20, 2014

• On 31 July 2014 the government published the document Technical Consultation on Planning – the deadline for responses is 26 September 2014
• The consultation asks 76 questions on a range of reforms to help facilitate more development and growth by making the planning system quicker and more efficient – the online response form is at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JKMX63K
• The consultation includes sections on neighbourhood planning, permitted development, planning conditions, planning applications, environmental impact assessment and nationally significant infrastructure projects
• This briefing will be relevant to elected members, planning managers and officers, and others who interact with the local planning system

Troubled Families update

August 20, 2014

This briefing is an update on the Troubled Families Programme.

The Prime Minister announced an extension to the programme this week, following the publication of research for DCLG which sets out the range and level of problems that families involved in the programme are experiencing. The briefing gives more details of the extended programme and summarises and comments on the research report.

This briefing will be of interest to members and officers involved with family policy, health and social care, public health, housing, children’s services, corporate policy, equalities, and finance officers and councillors in executive and scrutiny roles.

Weekly Policy Summary – 15th August

August 15, 2014

This briefing can also be viewed as a .pdf. LGiU has launched a new project looking at increasing councils’ powers to tackle flooding. Council flooding officers and other key local stakeholders wishing to contribute should email andrew.walker@lgiu.org.uk Entries are coming …

Birmingham ‘Trojan Horse’ reports: Peter Clarke and Ian Kershaw

August 15, 2014

This briefing summarises the contents of the two main reports on the allegations contained in the so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ letter, about events in certain Birmingham schools: (i) the Government-commissioned report by Birmingham Education Commissioner Peter Clarke, and (ii) the Birmingham City Council-commissioned report by Ian Kershaw, of Northern Education. The (new) Secretary of State for Education (Nicky Morgan, MP) made a statement to the House of Commons on 22 July, on publication of the Clarke report, in which she set out a number of actions and other points arising from the situation (see ‘Related briefings’). This briefing focuses on the reports themselves; it will be of interest to members and officers with responsibility for education.

Pupil Premium – Ofsted Report

August 14, 2014

Ofsted has published The pupil premium: an update on how well schools in England are using the extra funding they receive through the pupil premium to raise the attainment of their most disadvantaged pupils.
The report concludes that it is too early to find any significant narrowing of the gap nationally between more affluent and poorer children, but it does find schools are spending the extra funding more effectively than before. School leaders are overall demonstrating a strong commitment to closing the attainment gap, targeting interventions and putting in place robust tracking systems.
Ofsted believes that there is “a strong association” between a school’s overall effectiveness and the impact of the pupil premium. The attainment gap was found to be closing in all 86 ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools; while in 12 the gap had narrowed to virtually nothing. In these schools, governing bodies are taking strategic responsibility for ensuring the extra funding improves teaching and support for eligible pupils. However, weak leadership and governance remain an obstacle “in a significant minority of schools” and in particular in those judged to be ‘inadequate’ for overall effectiveness.
The most common use of the extra funding is additional teaching staff, booster classes, reading support, ‘raising aspirations’ programmes and the use of ‘learning mentors’; all typically focused on English and maths. Many schools also provide after-school, weekend and holiday sessions.
The report found wide variations in attainment across local authority areas at Key Stage 2 and 4; with London boroughs having well above average proportions of free school meals pupils achieving five or more good GCSEs.

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