Time for a democratic NHS? July 18, 2008

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Whitehall and Westminster World There were two shooting stars across the Government’s public service fermament in July; the Darzi Review on health and Hazel Blears’ White Paper ‘Communities In Control – Real People, Real Power’. Both were complementary in some respects, emphasising the importance of user empowerment, choice and the positive […]

Empowerment July 18, 2008

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN LGA First There were some positive steps forward in the Government’s ‘Communities In Control’ White Paper which arguably make Whitehall more responsive to local needs, principally the extension of the yet-to-be-defined ‘duty to involve’ to a smattering of centralised quangoes, including the Arts Council, Environment Agency and JobCentre Plus. Whether anyone […]

Reviving Labour’s policy programme July 3, 2008

James Hulme, NLGN www.telegraph.co.uk Last Friday I was invited to spend the morning with a group of Labour councillors discussing what ideas they should include in their party’s next manifesto. Whilst they weren’t exactly reaching for the party poppers to celebrate Gordon Brown’s anniversary in office, they were surprisingly less depressed than many Labour Party […]

UK should make elected mayors focus of local government reform June 29, 2008

Chris Leslie, NLGN www.citymayors.com 29 June 2008: Wrenching power from central control is proving difficult. Despite a massive improvement in the quality and performance of English local government over the past decade, cross-party political goodwill for devolution, and managerial consensus that centralism cannot cope with the detailed challenges of frontline service delivery, there remains a […]

What’s the future for unitary councils? June 27, 2008

James Hulme, NLGN Pubilc Servant Previous attempts at reorganisation have lacked coherency and left local government lacking an easily understandable structure, says James Hulme, head of communications at New Local Government Network, so can these new structures really bring people closer to their local democracy and services? In local government circles, the unitaries debate has […]

Fancy going MAA away? June 26, 2008

Chris Leslie, NLGN The MJ Just when you thought that the number of new local government acronyms had been contained, along comes the MAA. Despite sharing the family name with LAAs, and appearing as cousin of the CAA, multi area agreements are developing a different gene pool – and they offer the prospect of becoming […]

Boris could look to Ken for inspiration May 13, 2008

On May 2nd I woke up with a hangover, despite the fact that I hadn’t been drinking the night before. My headache was caused by the thought of Boris Johnson running the capital city and the economic powerhouse of the UK. I’m not trying to make a political point; I’m sure that Steve Norris would […]

Scrutinise this April 30, 2008

James Hulme, Head of Communications, NLGN Commentisfree.guardian While Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson have been slugging it out in community halls and talk radio stations all over London, another election is about to take place to elect 25 members of the London Assembly, a body that scrutinises the mayor. You’ll be forgiven if it hasn’t […]