Information is Power November 24, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Municipal Journal Very few people jump for joy at the sight of their annual Council Tax bill dropping through their letter box. Yet there can be no clearer moment of ultimate accountability than for a putative elector to analyse whether they feel they are getting value for money from their locally […]

Pacing Lyons November 19, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN LGA First It was hardly one of the most exhilarating tasks for a junior Minister, piloted the Inquiries Bill through the House of Commons as I did last year – maximum procedural detail, minimal interest from the media or the wider public. My understanding of public inquiries had been of their […]

Five steps to active citizenship and a more supportive society November 4, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Public Servant Can you name your next-door neighbours? If you saw someone vandalising a parking meter, would you report it to the Police? If so, then you are a prime candidate for the accolade ‘active citizen’. These tests may be simple and the hurdle set apparently low, but they are two […]

Property tax isn’t theft November 4, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Public Finance The Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report is a fragile early Christmas present for Council Finance Directors. On the one hand it probably contains extra goodies and interest; on the other it can mean extra work putting together the pieces. The normal demands from local authorities for extra revenue support are likely […]

Forward Thinking October 27, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Local Government Chronicle There are certain buzzwords that cause groans of cynicism in some quarters, chief of which is “partnership”. Perhaps because years of public policy reform have finally drummed into all organisations the blindingly obvious importance of “joined-up thinking”, or perhaps it is because cross-organisational working is now so commonplace […]

City region debate at the crossroads October 21, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Regeneration and Renewal Over the past few months it has looked increasingly as though regionalism is facing a fork in the road, with the direction the Government chooses hanging in the balance. The ‘no’ vote in the North East regional assembly referendum has forced all instinctive regionalists to pause and take […]

You knows IT… October 20, 2005

Ian Parker, Head of Strategic Communications, NLGN
PR Week

You know the feeling. You arrive handy to work on a Monday morning ready to fire off a statement to the weeklies relating to some issue or other that has captured part of the weekend news agenda. But on entering the office, you find a bunch of anxious colleagues, looking rather perplexed because the organisation’s IT server has opted for a duvet day and nothing is working.

All politics is local October 17, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN
Parliamentary Monitor

When the returning officer reads out your name as the duly elected Member of Parliament for the aforesaid constituency, there is a moment of elation and exhilaration quickly followed by anticipation of exciting things to come. For many MPs, though, this moment of triumph will not have been their first at an election count, given the now well-established trend where a near majority of MPs have already been elected as local councillors previously. A locally elected background can be an excellent apprenticeship for national politics – I had served three years as a Bradford councillor before winning Shipley at the 1997 General Election. But if you imagine that going from local to national government is an exponential leap into greater complexity, tougher debate, or higher-stakes intrigue, you would be wrong.