England & Wales

Local government today


The Big Society is my mission” – Attention is very much focused on the Big Society with the PM earlier today declaring it his ‘mission in politics’ during a speech at Somerset House. Writing in the Observer yesterday, Mr Cameron outlined his ‘compelling plan to engage us all in transforming Britain’. There’s a plethora of comment and reaction to this morning’s speech – so rather than attempt to sum it up, here’s a link that’ll take you through to explore for yourself.

Big society visualised: the charity map of England and Wales – Using figures from the NCVO, the Guardian’s data team have mapped out the concentration of charities around England and Wales. Covering  voluntary organisations, political parties, trade unions and even universities and independent schools, the data amounts to 900,000 organisations with combined income of £157bn employing 1.6m paid staff.

The maps shows that “voluntary effort is not evenly spread… and it is not always found where it is most needed”, says reporter David Brindle. “Analysis of where charities are based suggests there are more than three times as many in well-heeled parts of Somerset and Dorset as in some deprived northern districts, even allowing for administrative factors that mean by far the most are based in the City of London”.

Mark D’Arcy interviews Grant Shapps MP – The latest edition of LGiU’s C’llr Magazine (which is distributed to all councillors in LGiU member councils) is now available. This issue features a special interview with Housing and Local Government Minister Grant Shapps MP by Mark D’Arcy, Parliamentary Correspondent with BBC News.

Can Jamie Oliver revolutionise the nation’s schools? – “I think Dream School is questioning everything about schools that we know”, says Oliver on his latest project.

Jamie’s Dream School saw him enlisting the likes of Alistair Campbell, David Starkey and Tinchy Stryder to try to enthuse and teach 16- to 18-year-olds who had failed at school. Taking in to account the bigger political context of the Academies Act, this could be an interesting series to follow.