Author: Jonathan Carr-West

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Localism trumps secularism on council prayers

This article was first published by Total Politics. The recent High Court ruling that councils have no statutory right to hold prayers before meetings has continues to reverberate in local government. The decision follows an action bought against Bideford Town Council in Devon by a former councillor. Media prominence for the case was ensured by the…

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The year local government takes charge

This article was first published by Total Politics. This year, many of the coalition’s localist policies come into effect. What will this mean for how we see local politics? 2012 looks like being a big year for local politics. Strangely, this may turn out to be a mixed blessing for local government. Media attention in this country…

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A fair crack of the whip to fulfil role

This article was first published in TES Whatever you think about academies, it seems that they are here to stay. Forty per cent of secondary schools have converted, or are in the process of converting to, academy status and, although the rate of conversion has slowed, there is little reason to suppose that this number…

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Government finance plans signal dedication to localism

This article was first published on the Guardian’s Local Government Network. As I wrote in my predictions for 2012, councils will find themselves at the forefront of the charge towards recovery this year. Communities secretary Eric Pickles has a plan for this charge; by changing the way local business rates are distributed to incentivise local growth.…

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The Local Finance Bill – an ambitious programme for localism

The debate over local government finance has had a relatively low profile but it could effect radical changes to the political geography of this country. We welcome the ambition behind the plans after decades of consultation and debate which has more often than not led to dither and delay. The Government has listened to concerns…

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A Better Insurance Market Would Help Meet Rising Costs of Adult Social Care

A group of more than 60 government advisors, charity directors and independent experts have signed a letter to yesterday’ Daily Telegraph demanding radical reform to care and home help services. They urged the government to build a cross party consensus and to seize the opportunity presented by the forthcoming social care white paper to deliver a care system…

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Response to the Local Finance Bill – An end to dither and delay?

The debate over local government finance has had a relatively low profile but it could effect radical changes to the political geography of this country. We welcome the ambition behind the plans after decades of consultation and debate which has more often than not led to dither and delay. Giving locally elected councils real powers and…

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What Impact Has FoI Had on Local Democracy?

This article was first published by the Huffington Post. Last week the Constitution Unit at UCL published a fascinating report, Town Hall Transparency, assessing the impact that Freedom of Information has had on local democracy and government in England. The study found that local government receives the majority of FoI requests – with numbers increasing fourfold…

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Why the silence on the Localism Bill?

This article first appeared on the Total Politics blog. ‘Not with a bang but a whimper’. Last month, the Localism Bill gained Royal Assent accompanied by almost blanket press and public indifference. This seems strange for an act that is at the heart of the government’s legislative programme and which is in many ways the…

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