To mark the LGiU’s 30th anniversary we invited 30 contributors to gaze in to a crystal ball and tell us how councils will be different in 2043.
Rob Whiteman, CIPFA Chief Executive, predicts a seismic shift in local government over the next 30 years because the current prescriptive system run by Whitehall cannot last.
We have seen a seismic shift in Local Government over the past 30 year and I think it will look fundamentally different again in another 30 years’ time.
The past few decades have seen the creation of councils as corporate entities with Leaders and Cabinets, Chief Executives and Executive Mayors replacing the older system of standalone committees supported by the town clerk. In fact the strength of local government in recent times has been this new corporate role.
However the current settlement is now formed of a highly prescribed set of functions granted by the centre in Whitehall. This is opposed to the older freedom of authorities which allowed them to act in the interests of the communities they served using the best levers and means available. For me this conflict means that the present system will not last.
By 2043 local government will either be encouraged to further build its corporate role, leading on local growth and community renewal with new funding sources to support this; or by then central government will have built stronger local stand-alone institutions or created new forms of regional government.
Either way the present lack of a coherent strategy on centralism, regionalism and localism, with no consensus between the major political parties on a way forward cannot last another 30 years, especially if we are to see local government deliver for local communities.