Author: Andy Sawford

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Taking the Lib Dem local government pulse

A Chatham House event with councillors from 13 Liberal Democrat councils.  The question we put: with a 30% contraction in local government spending over the next five years (likely according to latest figures from PWC, and Vince Cable’s analysis) what are you going to stop doing (the savage C word) what are you going to…

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Huhne blasts ACPO

Just as I was beginning to despair at the policing fringe at the Lib Dem Conference, sponsored by the APA and ACPO, up stepped Chris Huhne.   After a dull opening about statistics, I slipped quietly towards the exit door, and then Mr Huhne hit his stride.   We had heard all the usual stuff from ACPO…

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Conservatives, Lawyers, LAML and the Power of General Competence

In the recent LAML judgement the Courts ruled that the local authorities who had set up a mutual insurance scheme did not have the legal powers to do so.   There were various aspects to the judgement, some specific to the case, but some with much wider implications.   In particular, the case showed the limitations of the legal…

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Facing the future

Reality has been the theme of my week.  I gave a talk at the County Councils Network in which I talked about the public sector spending crash ahead.   Some nodded, some scribbled, but it seemed that most just let it pass by.  I’m not sure if that is because they get it, and are thinking…

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Education of children in care: we need your help

Back from holiday and blogging break with a renewed sense of urgency about a range of issues, including the education of children in care.   There is a shocking statistic I quote, apologies if you’ve heard me say it before… of every 1000 children in care only 7 will go on to University.  Children in care…

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Should history teachers be historians

The Conservative education spokesman, Michael Gove, is having a busy recess.  He is putting out a press release a day.  Today’s story is that only 76% of history teachers are historians.   It caught my eye as a history graduate, who studied history at GCSE and A-level, and is often heard bemoaning the general lack of knowledge about history, and…

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Welcome to new UK Citizens

At a meeting a few weeks ago Immigration Minister, Phil Woolas, said that he had a draft 400 word statement of welcome to new citizens drafted in his Ministerial box for his approval.  Raising his eyes to the ceiling, expressing frustration at the particular difficulties of language and political correctness in his brief, the Minister…

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10 Tory Council Leaders to become MPs?

Interesting list over on ConHome of Tory council Leaders likely to become MPs at the next election. Heather Wheeler is also a Director of the LGiU. 1. Bob Blackman (Harrow East; ex-Brent Council leader) 2. Kevin Davis (Yeovil; ex-Kingston Council leader) 3. Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green; Barnet Council leader) 4. Lorraine Fullbrook (South…

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‘Strengthening Local Democracy’ consultation launched

Went to the launch this morning by John Denham of the government’s ‘Strengthening Local Democracy’ consultation.  These are my first thoughts on hearing him and skimming the document. The starting point of this consultation is the right one: the recognition that councillors and councils should lead communities, and shape all the local public services, because…

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Localise criminal justice

Today we launch ‘Primary Justice’ the report following our major inquiry into criminal justice.  The main recommendation is to localise a substantial part of the system, putting around 35% of the funding into a local criminal justice budget held by local authorities working in partnership with local parts of the system, and with business and…

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