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Boston, Massachusetts

It’s not that there is anything wrong with Boston in Lincolnshire, it’s a smashing place, but there is potential for geographic confusion. I am here in Boston for a week long course at Harvard and MIT, along with a group of Chief Executives of public sector organisations, courtesy of BT who have been running ‘Vital…

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local health services and accountability

Feedback from our big debate on health accountability last week, hosted with the All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group. We had a mix of local authorities around the table, represented by Councillors and officers working in the health field, with health practitioners and national health organisations such as the NHS Confederation and the Kings Fund, and…

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Educating for financial capability

There is a proposal in Budget 2009 (page 98) to include financial capability as a part of the statutory secondary school curriculum. Apart from seeing a role for local government in spreading its considerable expertise, it makes you wish that such a course was available to bankers at RBS, Lloyds etc (in fact Lloyds is donating…

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Localise Criminal Justice Now

All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group (APPG) Inquiry into Justice in Communities: First Oral Evidence Session: Today, is the first parliamentary oral evidence session for the new APPG inquiry into Justice in Communities. This investigation, coordinated by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), in partnership with London Councils, Northgate Information Solutions Limited and the London…

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Prevent child misery

The Looked-after Children report published 20 April 09 by the Children, Schools and Families Committee rightly highlights the lack of consensus about the purpose of the care system in supporting vulnerable children, in particular how it might develop as “an integral part of a continuum of effective family support services.” The report’s emphasis on the…

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Council housing progress

Following much lobbying, including by the LGiU, expect to see an announcement in the budget tomorrow of a new fund to support council house building. It will be one part of a package of around £1bn to stimulate the housing market, which will also include extending the stamp duty holiday and the mortgage rescue scheme,…

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Snoopers Charter reviewed

I see that Jacqui Smith has announced a review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and that councils will face new restrictions in their use of these surveillance powers. I’d like to think that this is because the Home Secretary was blown away by the powerful arguments in my blog post on this…

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The ‘ingredients’ of local democracy?

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has announced today that empty and boarded up shops should be transformed by making temporary use of them for social enterprises, art displays and learning centres, as a means to prevent ghost towns during the economic downturn. But is this about more than just the turbulent economy? Town and villages centres…

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Conservative Housing Green Paper

The Conservative Party have today delivered their long-awaited Housing Green Paper ‘Extending Opportunities”. The Paper pledges to: • Abolish the regional planning system and regional housing targets. • Incentivise new house-building by matching local authorities’ council tax take for each new house built for six years – with special incentives for affordable housing; • Allow…

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Fashion, cycling and sustainable communities

Today the tricky problem of getting women to cycle and cycling fashion (note: I use the term fashion here loosely) was pondered in the Guardian. Helen Pidd questions why it is beyond the imagination of designers to come up with garments suited to the demands of the cyclist that didn’t risk the wearer being mistaken…

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