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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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Twitter Top 10 in local government

The Twitter explosion continues and the local government world is catching on fast.   A month ago I published the first ever Twitter top 10 in local government and it became our top blog post ever within a matter of days.   The top 10 informed local government media reports and comment on the increasing use of…

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Government and public trust

The excellent Democratic Society Blog drew my attention to recently published Eurobarometer research on public trust in government. There’s loads of really (yes really) interesting stuff in it, but it also made me think about the limits of this sort of data. Just under half of people really trust local government (47%) – but it…

England & Wales Blog Post

Lights out

You might not think Nelson’s Column, Southampton Civic Centre and Bristol Zoo have a great deal in common. Tomorrow night though, they will join 2000 cities and towns across the world switching their lights out for Earth Hour. On March 28, at 8:30 p.m, iconic buildings, businesses and homes will be turning off their lights…

England & Wales Blog Post

Snoopers charter?

Lots in the news today about councils use of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa), to police minor infringements such as dog fouling and littering. The government has promised further guidance and stressed that Ripa should only be used to deal with serious offences. Most of this discussion has focused on civil liberties, but I…

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Criminal justice inquiry launched

The prison population of England and Wales was 61,470 in 1997. It is projected to increase to almost 100,000 by 2014. Each prisoner costs the taxpayer, on average, £37,500 per year. At the same time, half of all crime is committed by previous offenders and ex prisoners are responsible for one in five recorded crimes.…

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Alastair Campbell Vs Peggy Mitchell

We blogged back in February saying Eastenders would run a story on Peggy Mitchell standing as a councillor, and here we were, wondering whether the BBC would take the campaign seriously. Well, it would seem that they are, as is Alastair Campbell. In a world where fiction and reality have collided, Alastair Campbell (real person)…

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