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Tag Archives: localism

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NAO – Financial sustainability of local authorities 2014

This briefing summarises a National Audit Office report called “Financial sustainability of local authorities 2014″, regarding the financial stresses faced by local authorities. The briefing also examines the Department of Communities and Local Government’s responses to this data and whether they sufficiently identify how close local authorities are to financial or service failure.

This briefing is relevant to authorities of all tiers. It will be of interest to councillors and officers with an interest in local government finance, corporate strategy and services on which there are statutory duties.

Future Leaders: the Bruce Lockhart Membership Scholarship Award


The Bruce-Lockhart Member scholarship is an exciting opportunity for a future leader to communicate their own vision for local government.

Viewpoint: Space Standards, what’s in a word…?


Marc Vlessing, co-founder of Pocket, a private affordable house builder, expresses his concern about the government’s plan for new space standards, as part of a consultation on housing standards. The deadline for submissions to the consultation is 7th November

Beyond Metrocentralisation


This week the RSA published “Unleashing Metro Growth: Final Recommendations of the City Growth Commission”. The report calls for the “reconfiguration of our political economy, with city regions at its heart”. It argues that we need a shift in decision-making …

Party conference roundup


The devolution question following the Scottish referendum was debated widely at each conference, particularly in the fringes, and the fallout from the Scottish referendum for local areas is still a hot topic among localists and some political commentators.

Localism in a hung parliament


A hung parliament next May is looking like a very likely prospect. But while coalition negotiations leave everything hanging in the balance, the practice of governing where it really counts will carry on.   135 days after their last national …

City Energy: A new powerhouse for Britain

This report by the IPPR encourages cities to engage in the energy supply market directly- by stimulating local distributed energy generation, and to invest in low-carbon infrastructure through, especially, their pension funds. It argues that the current energy market model is failing and local authorities can create new revenue streams by supporting localised energy production; localising energy benefits (eg jobs and resilience) and reducing fuel poverty in the process.

This report is most relevant for chief financial officers, and electricity and infrastructure-related departments, mainly in the larger cities and local authorities, but a role for smaller/rural authorities in the energy market is also possible

Democracy-max: council leaders say yes to devolution


England and Wales should have the same devolved powers as Scotland and that power should be held locally.

Emerging models for leadership and governance of local economic development

This briefing reviews emerging models for leadership and governance of local economic growth and development (LED).
* A number of issues for Local Authorities’ (LA) economic leadership are raised by recent LED developments. Notable among these are Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) formulation of strategic economic plans (SEPs) and EU structural and investment fund strategies (SIFs); and the inception of four new Combined Authorities (CAs) for northern ‘city regions’ (Leeds, Liverpool, North East, and Sheffield).
* The briefing describes the CA ‘model(s)’, and the current government consultation on its evolution. It also considers alternatives to CAs that LAs, LEPs and other partners are seeking to pursue.
* It outlines a number of questions and issues that LAs may wish to address in determining how LED leadership and governance should develop in its area. This is relevant to LA involvement in influencing the 2015 general election campaign, and the priorities of the incoming 2015-20 government.
* Members and officers in all tiers of council involved in economic growth and with their LEPs, together with those responsible for broader governance reforms will find the briefing of particular relevance.

Locally-led garden cities

* The government has published Locally-led Garden Cities, a prospectus to stimulate proposals for a new generation of garden cities.
* It encourages local areas, with the backing of local authorities, to submit expressions of interest that may receive support from the government, including limited capacity and capital funding.
* The government has also announced that stalled development at Ebbsfleet in Kent will be kickstarted by establishing an urban development corporation to create Ebbsfleet Garden City.
* The Wolfson Economic Prize has published the results of a poll that found 74 per cent of people are in favour of new garden cities.
* Questions remain for local authorities about location and how garden cities can be delivered quickly through the planning system.

This briefing will be important reading for elected members, strategic planners across local authorities, and planning policy officers.