England & Wales

Focus on England: millions spent on levelling up applications and being better briefed.



Focus on England – highlights a few key items of local government news from our members only Daily News service and provides links to key resources help you address the issues of today and opportunities for the future. 

It’s been quite a few weeks from elections, to the coronation to hosting Eurovision in Liverpool!

Local elections:

In England, over the past month, we have been focussed on the local elections. The results of those elections have seen major changes in the balance of power in councils across the nation – see our final analysis including an LGIU video on the geographical spread of those changes and what they might mean.

Of course, those changes have resulted in many new councillors coming into power – see the latest LGIU resources for new councillors here. It includes our ‘essential reading lists’ on key topics. We pulled them together for new councillors, but really anyone who’d like to brush up on topics like local government finance, social care, children’s services and more will find them super helpful. The LGIU has a wealth of resources to give your new councillors the background information and expert analysis to prepare them to hit the ground running in all areas of service provision. Our more detailed and in-depth resources are available only to LGIU members, if your council isn’t a member yet, find out how to join.

If you still haven’t had enough of the local elections, our Local Democracy Research Centre is running a research project on the impact of Voter ID and we’ll be highlighting our interim findings from a survey to electoral administrators. Join our free, exclusively Member only, event: 28 June, 10-11 BST.

Ask the expert: the impact of Voter ID in the UK

Local actions a cost of living blueprint

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has met with 22 council leaders at the party’s headquarters in London – saying local leaders have secured a “mandate to deal with the cost of living”, with local delivery on the issue to act as a “blueprint” for a future Labour government.

We love seeing national political parties learning from the practical and pragmatic approaches of local government. We’ve curated a range of resources and examples of on-the-ground efforts in our Cost of Living collection.

We know how critical this issue is. Our latest Global Local looks at the impact of child poverty and how local governments around the world are helping children reach their potential.


“Ghost” children:

Another important story was children missing out on educational opportunities due to persistent absence from school.

Former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has written to Education Secretary Gillian Keegan to highlight the growing problem of absent children in UK schools. Last year, 1,855,000 children were labelled “persistently absent”, double the number since the start of the Covid pandemic

Our recent briefing: Marked absent: why children are missing full-time education examines why has this occurred and what can be done to get pupils back into the classroom. And, of course, it’s worth mentioning our recently curated Essential Reading list on children’s services and education.


Councils spend millions on “Levelling up”

New figures reveal that councils and mayor-led regional authorities have spent over £130m on paperwork applying for “levelling up” funding since 2019. Local authorities spent £55m of their own money, while £75m in “capacity funding” was provided by the Department for Levelling Up to help local authorities with a bidding process that the department itself oversees.

We don’t think this is the way. That’s part of the reason our LGIU@40: For the future of local government campaign (did you know we hit 40 this year?!) has a key focus on both proper funding and the importance of central government trusting local government to just get on with the job. Read our Chief Executive Jonathan Carr-West’s white paper on what we need to do to make sure local government is ready to play the role it must in the next forty years. And if you’re interested in how levelling up can be done differently, then here is an LGIU briefing looking at the lessons from Germany.


Just for LGIU members: Being better briefed

What’s local government without policy briefings? Feedback from our annual member’s survey shows that many are using our briefings and other resources like Global Local to help them write impactful internal briefings. If you want to get tips for writing a great briefing, join us: 8 June, 10-12 BST

How to write an impactful briefing


Want more local government news?

Make sure you’re signed up for Daily News to get all the essential stories every day and our latest insightful and informative policy briefings, exclusively for LGIU members. Not a member yet? You can still find a host of resources, rounded up weekly for your inbox – register for a free website account now.

In the meantime, get inspired our roundup of notable practice taken from all four of our Daily News services in England & Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Australia where we highlight innovation and practical success from local government.

Notable practice: LGIU case study roundup March-April 2023


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