LGIU Scotland: 2023 in review

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Delivering ideas, resources and connections for a stronger local government

LGIU and LGIU Scotland exist to make local democracy around the world collectively stronger through shared ideas, resources and connections, delivering member services to councils across the UK, Ireland and Australia and providing a Global Local subscription for individuals in other countries. We do this so local government is empowered to tackle the biggest challenges we’re all facing today and in the future.

Throughout the year, we have delivered hundreds of briefings, training sessions, workshops, roundtables and more to our members. And our collective voice has grown stronger as major research programmes from the Local Democracy Research Centre have taken centre stage in Scotland.

We have been supporting local government for four decades now – 2023 was our 40th anniversary. We are proud of our history: proud that local authorities created us as a resource and a voice for the sector, but for us, 2023 has been all about the future. The future of democratically elected local government everywhere is at the heart of our new manifesto LGIU@40: For the future of local government.

Supporting local government throughout 2023

We support the people who work in local government and our elected representatives with the right resources on tap whenever they need them, saving them valuable time and saving councils money.

“There is a wealth of accessible and interesting information which is very useful in my day-to-day work.”

“Very informative as to what is going on, not just in my local area but all over Scotland.”

Your LGIU member resources cover the myriad of local government topics. Members tell us they reach for our in-depth policy briefings, our legislation guides and our subject round-ups to help them with their jobs because they are “extremely informative and easy to engage with.” In response to member feedback, we introduced a new Scottish Bulletin, which provides regular updates on the progress of legislation going through Holyrood and open consultations.

This year, we have made it even easier to use your resources, organising much of our briefing output into single-theme collections that provide an easy-to-navigate narrative arc through changes in legislation and examples of good practice on the ground.

“[LGIU gives me] snapshots of the headlines every day, with opportunity to read deeper if the topic is relevant for my projects.”

We’ve got your back with almost 300 new items this year alone and an encyclopedic back catalogue of resources. And of course, there’s Daily News – the top local government news stories from across Scotland delivered to you at 6am every morning.

“Daily news is a really good way to keep up with the main things going on in just a few minutes a day, really appreciate this!”

Case studies are about sharing learning and innovation from the international local government community. We provided you with more than 150 this year, and you tell us that they help you “identify good practice and make contact with other authorities if necessary”. We’ve been really pleased to be able to share so many shining examples of innovation by LGIU Scotland members in this way.

Our briefings, guides and news services address the circumstances of our member countries. We also deliver inspiration, ideas and innovative solutions from local government in many more countries. We believe we achieve better and quicker results when we are connected: this year, your Global Local newsletter has brought a world of local government to your inbox 52 weeks a year.

“I can keep up to date with local government […] activities both nationally and internationally.”

We respond to the priorities of LGIU Scotland members in everything we do. This year the work of the LGIU’s Local Democracy Research Centre has focused on issues that members tell us are critical to the future of local government. The State of Local Government Finance in Scotland, lays bare the parlous state of council finances across Scotland and garners ongoing attention from press, Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. This is an integral part of our campaign to secure major reform of the local government funding system and ensure the views of LGIU Scotland member councils are heard. Shared learning and connections were also to the fore when we facilitated a learning exchange between Scottish and Irish council Chief Executives on these related issues in the autumn.

What role for local government in Scotland’s National Care Service? provides a serious evidence base for the potential impact of the Scottish Government’s proposed national care service plan.

These and other projects informed our LGIU@40: For the Future of Local Government manifesto which has provided practical and eminently implementable ideas for how local government could work better. The manifesto was launched at our first annual research symposium.

LGIU Training worked with more than 1,250 councillors and local government staff this year on sessions ranging from strategic thinking, to scrutiny skills to equality and diversity training.

“The training is very hands-on and filled with large amounts of rich information.”

LGIU Events connected local government colleagues with new ideas, different perspectives and each other. Ask the Expert sessions allowed members to discuss all our major research outputs with the Local Democracy Research Centre team. From research into the crucial monitoring officer role, to work on community engagement and the net zero agenda, to a unique exploration of international local government funding systems, the input and collaboration that we have received from our members has been immensely valuable. Global Local Panel events have brought senior practitioners from the UK, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere together to share insights and experience on subjects that included the cost of living crisis and council decision-making processes.

“The pressure and intensity of the day job mean horizon-scanning can be difficult. LGIU helps me to fill that gap.”

And of course, as we do every year, we celebrated councillors – the lifeblood of our local democracy. The 14th annual LGIU & CCLA Cllr Awards were the best yet. With several hundred nominations and five fantastic winners, these awards are one of the highlights of the LGIU year. We are proud to celebrate the vital and often unacknowledged work of local elected representatives.

*All quotes come from the LGIU’s 2023 annual survey.

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