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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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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…

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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…

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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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