Time for Total Place #2 ?

At Shared Intelligence we are convinced the time is ripe for Total Place #2 write Phil Swann and Tony Blake. Local councils and their partners face a combination of challenges that require close collaboration and engagement with local communities and businesses: responding to coronavirus; supporting economic recovery; re-thinking town and city centres; tackling health inequalities;… Read More

Pause with a Purpose

What’s the local vision and what structures will get us there writes Phil Swann. The government’s much anticipated devolution and recovery white paper looks set to be delayed. According to some reports ministers’ apparent enthusiasm for the creation of more unitary councils is rapidly waning. All of which raises a question about how local government… Read More

Financial and economic impact of local government – our report for the LGA

What is the daily cost of local authority social care, and how does that compare to one NHS hospital bed-day? What is the return on investment of each £1 spent on interventions to reduce drug and alcohol dependency? How much is spent on children’s mental health and what proportion of this is spent by local… Read More

Reorganisation is about outcomes not structures

Plans for unitary local government need to support wider public service reform – and this needs time writes Tony Blake. The government has reignited the unitary council debate but is local government reorganisation a guilty pleasure? We all know that the discussions distract from business as usual and that structures do not themselves improve outcomes.… Read More

We need to talk about devolution

Council action on devolution must be as much about talking as options appraisal writes Phil Swann. Ministers look set to present councils in two tier areas with a stark choice: establish mayoral combined authorities and introduce unitary local government or in effect opt out of the possibility of securing devolved powers and resources from government.… Read More

The new normals: not just one new normal..

The idea of one ‘new normal’ is a dangerous blind alley writes Ben Lee. It seems increasingly likely the COVID-19 pandemic is already leaving a permanent legacy. Had the crisis lasted only a few days or weeks then perhaps a ‘return to normal’ might have been possible. However, it is more than 80 days since… Read More

The new normals: local economic recovery

Economic recovery planning must start at the local level writes Lisa McCance. COVID-19 is expected to deliver one of the greatest economic shocks of our lifetime, with unprecedented levels of unemployment, business closure and a contraction of our economy not experienced in recorded history. It does however, present an opportunity to rebuild the economy, and… Read More

The new normals: visions and effective partnerships

We cannot plan local routes to recovery without clear local visions and strategies writes Phil Swann. In May 2020 councils and their partners are focussed on their response to coronavirus, particularly in relation to the people, communities and businesses most severely affected. We are aware, however, that thought is also being given to longer term… Read More

The new normals: capturing the learning

What we are learning right now is priceless, but are we capturing it? writes Ben Lee. Local public services have been operating at (or even beyond) the limits of their tolerance for more than 80 days, revealing strength points and weak points in ways we rarely see. This learning generated over the past three months… Read More