City Regions the key to council reform January 1, 2006

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Policy Review Council reform is now firmly back on the policy agenda. Prompted by a couple of unexpected political developments in the past year or so, it comes alongside some clear and coherent analysis of local government’s future by various opinion-formers. The ‘No’ vote in the North East regional assembly referendum […]

The Next Step December 13, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN and Ian Parker, Head of Strategic Communications, NLGN SocietyGuardian.co.uk The debate about City Regions is gathering momentum. The Minister of Communities and Local Government, David Miliband has spent the Autumn touring England’s ‘Core Cities’. This has raised speculation that a forthcoming report from his department will put reform of city governance […]

A crisis of identity? December 12, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Yorkshire Post Unlike the other regions of England, Yorkshire isn’t a point on the compass. It has a well-defined boundary with a well-defined character, and an extremely strong identity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that the North East or South West have equally strong characteristics – it’s just that you […]

We can’t gamble with fairness in a brave new world of choice December 2, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN New Start It’s the latest craze in public policy – ‘empowering’ the public as consumers of services rather than treat them as passive recipients of whatever the central state and its local arms deem appropriate. All very laudable and worthwhile, but nevertheless fraught with the danger that we lose sight of […]

Modern Manners: a balancing act November 25, 2005

Ian Parker, Head of Strategic Communications, NLGN PR Week It’s not every Saturday evening that you get an apology from an alleged mass murderer. Even on a South London bus. And it’s perhaps not something that you should refer to in a magazine column. But in for a penny, and here’s to Mad Frankie Fraser […]

United we stand November 24, 2005

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Local Government Chronicle If a martian from outer space were to land on Earth and gaze upon our current structure of local government in England (ok, improbable on so many levels), what would he see? A complex, incrementally-evolving, patchwork of districts, cities, boroughs, counties, parishes and more besides. Not much wrong […]

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 […]