Category transformation

GUEST BLOG: IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN

…but it’s worth it if you want to save money and do your bit for the environment. The public sector could cut 25% from heating and lighting bills with no upfront costs. So why is it doing so little to improve energy efficiency? Our little boy Marcus won’t eat green vegetables. His mother and I […]

SO, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN TELL, HEAVEN FROM HELL?

Yesterday I spent some time thinking about the projects that I worked on back in the days when we were still getting excited about Gershon efficiency, and the idea of 30% budget reductions across the board would still have been a hilarious joke in the mineral water stocked meeting room. It struck me that on […]

COLD COMFORT FROM THE AUTUMN STATEMENT

As may be apt for an autumn statement, the announcements today from the Chancellor show no let up in the freeze on local government funding, and there is an even frostier outlook for the years ahead. If you’ll forgive the terrible metaphor, here are some of the key points from today’s statement. Firstly, in terms of […]

I’LL TAKE CARE OF YOU

My mum once told me that the day (long ago, sorry mum!) she decided not to be a social worker any longer, was when a quirk in policy and process at her council meant that a highly distressed mother and vulnerable child clearly in need of help came through the door, and her main concern […]

ALL WHITE ON THE NIGHT

Last week I was lucky enough to spend an entire day shadowing the Assistant Chief Executive of Surrey County Council, the indomitable Susie Kemp. I could (and probably will) write a whole series of blogs based on the day, as the exposure I got to the huge spectrum of issues a senior local government officer […]

BORN TO RUN (THE ECONOMY)?

Yesterday’s blog on Lord Heseltine’s report caused a bit of a stir – well, with me at least. The post raised the question of what a local authority’s core business is. It suggested that, given the many other bodies whose core, and in some cases sole, focus is economic growth, arguing for unitary authorities as […]

IT TAKES (A LOT MORE THAN) TWO

Lord Heseltine’s report published today may be causing a stir in Whitehall, but if its recommendations are followed through, the effect on the town hall could be much greater. Whilst national commentators are focusing on the role of Local Enterprise Partnerships and a National Growth Council, there is relatively little attention being paid to the […]

WHAT I GO TO SCHOOL FOR

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the press recently about Academy status, and its effectiveness as a tool for improving school performance. Recently questions have been raised about how the Department for Education will cope with the role of monitoring school performance for a huge number of schools as the number converting […]

IT’S AS EASY AS 1,2,3…

One of the highlights of last week’s SOLACE conference for me was listening to Matthew Taylor from the RSA. Apart from the fact that he is one of those people that you could listen to for hours because of his conversational style and quick wit, he had a really refreshing perspective on the role of […]

A DIFFERENT KIND OF BLUE

Occasionally it can be enlightening to cast a comparative glance towards local government in other countries, particularly countries who are also struggling with recession, austerity measures and varying degrees of commitment to localism. From that vantage point, the report ‘Putting People First’, published earlier this week by the Irish Government’s Department of the Environment, makes […]

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