LGIU Scotland: supporting local government every day

A look back over 2021

Photo by Gary Ellis on Unsplash

As 2021 draws to a close, we wanted to take a look back over the past 12 months and share some of the highlights of LGIU Scotland’s year with you. This has been a bumper year with hundreds of briefings, blog posts, longer articles and research reports as well as policy roundtables and other events.

We believe that local government is is at its best when it is informed, engaged and networked and this ethos lies behind everything that we do. We are here to support local government every day, providing councils with the insight, ideas and innovation that they need to get the job done and plan for the future.

Throughout 2021 and every other year, everyone at an LGIU member organisation has had instant access to all of the information, insight and thought leadership we produce. They also get to be part of a global network, owned and run by local authorities, that supports innovation, shares ideas and amplifies the voice of local government around the world.

We continued to extend this network in 2021 and as LGIU England & Wales, LGIU Scotland, LGIU Ireland and LGIU Australia we work for and with many more local authorities across the globe, promoting collaboration in the quest to develop sustainable public services for the future.

At LGIU we truly have something for everyone. Our content is driven by you, our members, so if you have a story you’d like us to cover or if there’s an issue you’d like to learn more about please get in touch.

Policy briefings

We’ve published more than 180 briefings this year. Our 2021 briefing portfolio covers a huge spectrum of different policy issues and topics directly relevant to local authorities and public services in Scotland. Drilling into the data we can see many key pieces have performed consistently well with our members including briefings on urban futures, poverty and inequality, finance, levelling up, sustainability and technology.

This year we have been working hard to share international perspectives and have published a number of important briefings with international case studies including Canada, Norway, Finland, Spain, Indonesia and the Faroe Isles. Our pool of contributors and associate authors has also expanded to include experts in South Africa and across Europe.

To complement our written output we produce regular podcast episodes and have started to develop videos that sit alongside our briefings.

Daily News

For members only, this is our professional summary of the top local government news stories featured in the national and regional press. Daily News is established as an essential start to the day for councillors and staff and is delivered to more than 2,000 recipients across Scotland at 6am every morning.

Events and training

This year, policy events and roundtables have included international chief executive panel events and a major post-COP26 panel discussion, held in partnership with the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place at the University of Liverpool.

The LGIU Scotland & CCLA Cllr Awards were back for the 4th year running. These are the only awards to celebrate the vital work of councillors across Scotland and we were delighted to be able to reveal the winners at a live ceremony in Glasgow.

LGIU has been delivering training to local government for more than 30 years. In 2021 we ran more than 100 online LGIU training webinars and we welcomed more than 2,500 delegates from all over the UK, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere, connecting local government and sharing best practice.

Local Democracy Research Centre

In 2021 LGIU formally launched the Local Democracy Research Centre with an online discussion event in June. Our research has covered the challenges around place-shaping and levelling up, the future role of local government as a set of institutions, the economic and social benefits that can be gained from climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, and an investigation of how local government can lead a systems-focus on health and care outcomes in the UK.

Through the Research Centre, LGIU is incredibly excited to launch our first PhD programme, in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands, as well as Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council and the Western Isles Councils. The programme will look at opportunities within the Scottish Government’s Islands Plan.

The Research Centre is also commissioning  a number of other new and cutting edge research programmes. We are working with experts at the University of Kent to develop a framework for measuring and assessing local autonomy and decentralisation of power across different countries and we are developing plans for other projects comparing funding systems around the world, as well as bespoke projects in partnership with our members.

Image via https://pixabay.com/

Showcasing innovation and best practice

We love sharing good practice from across Scotland. In 2021 LGIU Scotland published nearly 50 blogs written by both our members and guest writers. We’ve also published a significant number of international blogs from stakeholders across the world.

Climate change has been a key issue written about by us and our members and we’ve had the pleasure of publishing some brilliant blogs. From boosting biodiversity, green jobs and the circular economy to urban flooding, community engagement and renewable energy we have covered a diverse range of topics from across Scotland. Other important issues written about by our members include participatory democracy, the power of public food, communicating with young people during COVID, refugee resettlement programmes, tackling homelessness, digital care services and town centre regeneration.

Alongside our brilliant blogs we have done a number of In Conversation Pieces including interviews with Terry A’Hearn– Chief Executive of the SEPA- and Jacqueline Cassidy– Director of Place2Be for Scotland and Wales.

Global Local Recap

This year we introduced a new weekly service that showcases the most inspiring local approaches to the global challenges that we all face. Each week we address a different theme that local governments around the world are grappling with and gather together the best local innovation, practice and creativity from wherever we find it. Global Local Recap is an inspiring space for shared solutions and is fast building an international following.

Plans for next year

Watch this space because LGiU Scotland has a lot planned for 2022 including coverage of the local elections in May, highlighting best practice on the theme of coastal and rural communities and planning for a second PhD project. Alongside these key projects we will continue to cover important issues for local government in Scotland including steps towards the development of a national care service, post pandemic recovery, finance, Brexit, housing,  economic development, communities, climate change, education, regular roundups from Holyrood and Westminster and much more!