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

Developing an Employment and Skills Outcome Agreement

  Employment and skills outcomes agreements are intended to provide a framework to align skills provision to better address the skills needs of local employers and residents. They provide a valuable opportunity for key players in a skills system to develop a joint understanding of these needs and the role they can play in addressing… Read More

A blueprint for local climate leadership

In just one year since the first local authority in the UK (Bristol CC) declared a climate emergency, two-thirds of all local authorities have followed suit. But how, in practice, do local authorities move quickly from a declaration of climate emergency, into practical action? In 2019 we worked with two councils to drill down into… Read More