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Tag Archives: localism

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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.

Climate Change and Social Justice: A Review

* The review is part of a series by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (written by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) ) which aims to analyse the social justice implications of climate change in the UK. Using a rapid research assessment method to analyse literature, it also makes recommendations related to existing mitigation and adaptation policies and actions (at both national and local level) and the degree to which they currently or could deliver socially-just outcomes
* It suggests that little is known about the social impacts of climate change policies. In general there is a focus on short-term disaster responses rather than long-term resilience building. It argues that local authorities, especially in the policy areas of spatial planning, health, housing, have a key role to play and need to more strongly consider the social implications and equity dimensions of their climate change policies and actions
* This will be relevant not just to those working in environmental or sustainability units, but also those in social welfare, housing, healthcare and community engagement. Local authorities at all scales are implicated; but especially those in urban areas and those with flood management and/or coastal management responsibilities.

The first Community Energy Strategy: opportunities for local authorities

* The Community Energy (CE) strategy provides a framework for support to increase the role of community groups in the distribution, production and saving of energy; with the aim of contributing to national carbon reduction targets, energy efficiency, local resilience, reductions in fuel poverty and localism.
* It has been developed closely with the various CE groups and coalitions in the UK, and enjoys their broad support. While the focus of the strategy is on communities, the vital role of local authorities in facilitating and co-driving local decentralised energy and energy efficiency is a significant part of the strategy.
* The strategy mainly announces incentives and initiatives which cover England, recognising that in Scotland and Wales, support systems and funding for CE groups already exists and good lessons can be learnt. It will be of interest to those working across different types of local authorities, especially in community engagement, energy and planning.

Rural Communities : Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

This briefing summarises a House of Commons inquiry report on Rural Communities which assesses the Government’s delivery of its rural policy commitments. The report describes the “rural penalty” faced by rural households that pay more council tax whilst receiving less government grant and lacking access to public services and infrastructure. It demands reforms to the local government finance system and makes a range of recommendations to improve support to rural communities, including from local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Local authorities with rural populations will value the report’s breadth of perspective, its clear assessment of the challenges facing today’s rural communities and the particular strategic priorities of rural housing, transport, economic development and community capacity.

House Proud: how councils can raise standards in the private rented sector

The LGiU and the Electrical Safety Council have published a new report focusing on the relationship between local government and the private rented sector (PRS) in relation to property conditions in the sector.

House Proud: how councils can raise standards in the private rented sector, builds on evidence from a survey of 178 councils which showed that eight out of ten local authorities expected to take a more proactive stance with the PRS in future. It also draws on case studies illustrating examples of innovative practice, from Newham Council’s borough-wide compulsory licensing scheme, to a landlord-led improvement alliance in Southend.

The report makes a series of recommendations for both central and local government and calls on central government to give councils more freedom to respond to the private rented sector needs of their local communities. It is relevant to Cabinet Members for Housing, officers working with the private rented sector and anyone with an interest in this issue.

National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) website

* The government has launched a test version of the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) website
* The website includes new draft planning practice guidance on a range of topics such as viability, the duty to cooperate and neighbourhood planning
* The deadline for feedback is 9 October – the final version will go live later in the year, and no existing guidance will be cancelled until then
* The NPPG website aims to be accessible to all: this briefing is therefore of interest to everyone working in local government, but especially planning officers and elected members

Draft Deregulation Bill – what next?

The Draft Deregulation Bill is intended to “free thousands of businesses from red tape and make life easier for individuals and civil society”. It introduces some potentially controversial new measures, in addition to repealing legislation introduced by the Labour government as part of its own localism programme, and tidying up duplicated and out of date legislation.
It contains a number of proposals that are important for local authorities. This briefing outlines the main implications for local authorities, other than the training, skills, and education provisions, and will be of general interest to elected members and officers.

Connected Localism


Connected Localism, a new collection of essays published by LGiU today argues for radical public service transformation through networks of local innovation.

Much ado about…whole place community budgets

‘Whole place community budgets’ have been lauded by the coalition government as a flagship policy to put major principles of localism, ‘customer first’ service integration, public services reform, and deficit reduction into practice. They also tend to be supported enthusiastically by local government in both community leadership and local results delivery roles. This briefing looks at the progress made (or lack of it) on community budgets since the submission of the four whole area pilots business cases in October 2012 – covering the:
- Business cases themselves;
- ‘Scaling up’ and analytic work undertaken by, amongst others, the LGA and NAO;
- Response from the government around the Budget; the launch of the government’s ‘transformation network’; and
- Issues being raised regarding the role of community budgets in the impending Spending Review, due to be announced on June 26 2013.

It then considers the implications of the results to date for local government as a whole, and individually. This briefing will be of interest to senior politicians, officials and our partners across the local government ‘family’, as well as specifically for policy officers involved in community budget and related work streams.