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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 – 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.

Public Accounts Committee – adult social care in England

August 12, 2014

This report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) identifies the challenges facing adult social care in undertaking massive reforms at the time of severely constrained budgets. It makes a number of recommendations including:
• the need for the Department for Work and Pensions to work more closely with other departments.
• a more realistic timetable for implementing the Care Act and Better Care Fund.

This briefing is of interest to councils involved in the commissioning and provision of adult social care.

Passenger transport in isolated communities: Transport Select Committee Report

August 11, 2014

Summary

• On 22 July 2014, the Transport Select Committee published the report of its inquiry into passenger transport in isolated communities in England. This inquiry examined the extent to which the needs of different groups of passengers are taken into account and the challenges associated with providing better services.

• The Committee’s report highlights that isolated communities exist in urban and suburban areas as well as rural areas and recommends that DfT drafts a definition of ‘isolated communities’ for use across central and local government, which should be used to target scarce resources.

• The report also discusses the concept of ‘total transport’ which involves pooling transport resources to deliver a range of services, for example, combining hospital transport with local bus services. The Committee recommend that DfT initiates a large-scale pilot to test the concept in practice.

• This briefing will be of interest to elected members and officers with transport and social inclusion responsibilities.

Weekly Policy Summary – 8th August

August 8, 2014

This briefing can also be viewed as a pdf This week LGiU launched a new research project which will explore ways of giving local people a greater say in decisions that can protect their homes and communities from the disastrous …

Education Services Grant 2015-16

August 6, 2014

The Department for Education (DfE) has published Education services grant 2015 to 2016. The Education Services Grant (ESG) is paid to Local Authorities and to Academies to fund education support services (e.g. welfare services) which local authorities provide centrally to maintained schools but for the most part academies must secure independently.
In June 2013, the Chancellor announced a £200 million reduction in ESG in 2015-16; DfE consulted in March this year on how this reduction could be achieved. See Related briefing.
The ESG general funding rate will be £87 per pupil. That is a reduction of 23% from the £113 paid in 2014-15. The multipliers for Pupil Referral Units and Special Schools will remain at 3.75 and 4.25 respectively. The ‘retained duty’ rate of ESG which is paid to local authorities for the duties they retain for all pupils including those attending Academies will remain at £15 per pupil.
Academies will receive the same reduced general funding rate and multipliers for special and alternative provision academies. In previous years they received a ‘top up’ to their ESG (£27 per pupil) as a transitional measure to limited any losses when ESG was established from the previous grant regime. This will not be paid in 2015-16. But they will protected from sharp falls in the total budgets so that most will lose no more than 1.5% of their total budget through these changes; though some will lose up to 3%.
DfE received a considerable number of representations to the consultation concerning the provision of music services to schools. In tandem, DfE has announced an £18m increase in 2015-16 for music education programmes.
This briefing will be of particular interest to cabinet portfolio members and senior offices with responsibilities for children’s services and education generally and those with specific responsibility for finance.

Liberal Democrats – policy development in the lead up to 2015 General Election

August 6, 2014

his is the second in a series of briefings on the policy development being carried out by the main Westminster political parties ahead of the 2015 General Election.
It provides a ‘snap shot’ of where the Liberal Democrats have got to, focusing on issues which directly affect local government.
So far they have addressed a number of policy agendas of direct concern to local government including decentralisation, housing, transport, education, social cohesion and local economic development.
A number of significant polices have been agreed including using proportionate representation at local elections, returning school accountability to councils, lifting borrowing restrictions from councils to build new homes, and the introduction of a ‘Mansion Tax’ for homes valued at over £2 million.
Going forward, the Liberal Democrats will be addressing at their autumn conference in October policy on: public service reform (including schools, transport and health) and the ageing society (including health and social care and housing) as well as crime and criminal justice and equalities.
The same conference will also debate a ‘pre-manifesto’ document setting out a dozen or so policies that will be central to the election campaign.
This briefing will be of interest to executive members, cabinet portfolio members and senior officers in all tiers of local government.

Record numbers of people are playing sport: can local authorities meet demand?

August 5, 2014

* This briefing looks at the implications for local authorities of Sport England’s latest Active People Survey 2013/14 which shows that more people are playing sport than ever before.
* A record 15.6 million people aged 16 and over are playing sport regularly, 1.7 million more than 2005 when London won the bid to host the Olympic Games.
* The largest growth is in young people, but there remains a significant gap in participation between young men and young women and between people with disabilities and their non-disabled peers.
* Local authorities should develop a coherent strategy for sports provision that is based on local need, informed by new models of service delivery, and fully aligned with the delivery of local public health priorities.
* This briefing is relevant to all tiers of councils and of particular interest to strategic commissioners of sport and leisure and related services.

Health, public health and social care round up: July 2014

August 4, 2014

The health, public health and social care round-up summarises new policy, research and publications that are relevant to elected members and officers interested in health and social care. It is intended to be a digested read and provides links to the source documentation of major reports for further consideration. The briefings are organised in the following categories:
• major developments in July
• health and social care reform and finance
• public health
• health and social care quality and practice.

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