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Ground Zero mosque, local democracy and common sense

There’s an almighty hullabaloo brewing on the other side of the Atlantic over the Ground Zero mosque. It’s tempting to conclude that this is one of those issues that will always prove contentious. But that’s not quite the case. It’s only since national politicians waded into the debate that things turned ugly. As The Economist…

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Leicester Council and i-Pads: localism this ain’t

First Eric told councils that they couldn’t print newspapers. Then he told them when to collect the bins. Now Grant Shapps has told them that they can’t buy i-Pads for their councillors. The contrast between this and Eric’s promise that local government would no longer be “treated like a fifteen year old girl with really…

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Small is Beautiful – Innovation in Local Government

I would like to begin by thanking NESTA for supporting this publication and for putting on this impressive launch event today. In particular, thanks to Michael Harris, Madeleine Hallward, Laura Bunt and Lucie Osborn for supporting this project and enabling it to come to fruition. I would also like to thank all the local authorities…

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New academies will receive a share of pooled budgets that they don’t contribute to

I said a while ago that, although I’m open-minded about the academy scheme, I was concerned that schools that don’t opt out of local authority control will end up picking up the tab for those that do. That seems to be exactly what’s happening. Local authority finance officials in a couple of councils have noticed…

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Top civil servants land private sector roles

If previous form is anything to go by, a more developed market in public services will see senior civil servants and managers joining private outsourcing companies to compete for government business. Centre for Public Service Partnerships Director John Tizard comments on this trend in The Guardian. He says that says hiring public sector talent provides…

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Abolition of PCTs

By Janet Sillett We will stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care. We will ensure that there is a stronger voice for patients locally through directly elected individuals on the boards of their local primary care trust (PCT). Coalition Agreement 20 May 2010 Eight weeks, as…

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Pricing the environment makes business sense

The short term market driven view of “soulless corporation” can be “cancerous” to the environment and biodiversity. Sounds like an environmental campaign slogan. Not quite. This comes as a warning from Pavan Sukdev, author of the highly anticipated report The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business launched today on the value of the…

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Regionalised pay for the Civil Service

Equitable solutions to the deficit are largely exercises in wishful thinking. Poor people face a double whammy. They pay a larger proportion of their income in tax than the better off and so will be hit hardest by tax rises. They are also more reliant on public services that face the chop. Even with the…

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Public would rather cut ring-fenced services than key council ones

Local government will take a disproportianate share of the cuts. Take health. NHS spending will be protected while local government will be required to provide health services in-all-but-name like adult social care with less money. Some really interesting polling from the LGA suggests that the public don’t agree with the this prioritisation, however. It found…

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Total Place thinking provides pain-free solution to the deficit

Two things are preoccupying me at the moment: the World Cup; and how to cut the deficit in the most equitable way possible. I’ve been thinking about these two issues in isolation. In the spirit of Total Place, however, I have now broken down the silos and combined insights from these two policy areas. The…

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