On Thursday myself and Glen were the ‘official media partners’ for the Local Government Strategic Leaders Forum. We heard from Brandon Lewis MP, the Chief Executives of multiple local authorities (including Cornwall, Derby, Barnet, Liverpool, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire) and the input of multiple delegates.
Afterwards we agreed that there was so much at the conference that piqued our interest that it would be impossible to document it all in one post (or even write such a post so soon after the event). However, as is traditional and would be expected here are a few takeaways from the event.
1) An interesting thought from the Chief Executive of Cornwall. It is possible that in five / ten years we will no longer talk of local government or local councils. Instead we may have local public services; brought together in a single form.
2) Meanwhile, a comment from the Chief Executive of Northamptonshire. If local leaders aren’t operating across the public sector then they aren’t doing their job. Taken together this shows a continued recognition of the necessary blurring of the lines between local government and other local public services.
3) Speaking of integration During Brandon Lewis MP’s keynote he made an interesting big picture point about the long-term impact of integration programmes. He sees the transforming families and BCF programmes as being trail-blazers within Whitehall. If local government and partners can demonstrate the systemic value of these programmes it will help open up Whitehall further. This was the first time I’d heard it argued like that and demonstrated an interesting big picture view.
4) Talking of the troubled families programme the minister told us that one county council estimates that the troubled families programme can save £50m per year.
5) Another argument for more integration: Local councillors have a 77% approval rate: almost 70% more than MPs
6) We’d predicted that there would be a lot of talk of economic development but a surprising number of Chief Executives referred to a concept we had only previously heard in regard to the UK government; that of growing our way out of austerity. We’re going to look at this further in another post.