LAAs: Signed, Sealed, Now Deliver! October 9, 2008

Anna Turley, Deputy Director, NLGN The MJ Anna Turley looks at the realities faced by local authorities in delivering the new Local Area Agreements In June of this year, every upper tier local authority in the country signed off their new Local Area Agreement (LAA) with central government, setting out their local priorities for improvement […]

The North deserves a transport renaissance October 1, 2008

Chris Leslie, Director Yorkshire Post Politicians from both Labour and the Conservatives will have spent some of the past couple of weeks travelling north up the West Coast Mainline on route to their respective party conferences. I hope that such journeys gave them a chance to reflect on the transport needs for the North of […]

The Midlands needs more than soothing words from politicans September 20, 2008

James Hulme Gordon Brown spoke on Monday about finding comfort in the “wisdom of the West Midlands” during the Cabinet’s voyage to Birmingham. As a proud son of the region, I welcome any politician of any colour praise the area, as such instances happen very rarely. The Midlands occupies a no man’s land in […]

License to Skill September 20, 2008

Nick Hope, Researcher EGov Monitor Wresting power over local services from the hands of Whitehall is a struggle in which the New Local Government Network (NLGN) has long been engaged. Local authorities have made massive steps forward in improving their quality and performance over the past decade; there is a growing recognition that a centralist […]

Time to lend a hand September 19, 2008

Chris Leslie, Director, NLGN Public Finance The government has announced sensible measures to tackle the housing crisis. But it needs to go further and should give councils the freedom to offer banking services via prudential borrowing. Will it do the trick? The government’s package of housing measures announced earlier this month covered a multitude of […]

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 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 […]