Notable practice: LGIU case study roundup February 2023
Innovation and inspiration from LGIU
We rounded up the best case studies from our articles and exclusive Member briefings as well as examples of interesting practice from our Daily News Service available to everyone at member organisations.
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Think tank review
Our monthly roundup of the latest research and thought leadership on topics important to local government from leading think tanks around the world.
Each week we focus on a new topic with case studies, resources, articles and briefings on local solutions to global challenges. Check out our archive.
LGIU case study library
Seeking inspiration or innovation? Check out our case study library.
Democracy and Governance
From our Members only briefings in February:
Read all about it – Councils and local journalism (UK)
Dublin Citizens’ Assembly on mayoral government
The face of democracy: photo ID arrives at UK elections
Are young people losing faith in democracy? It’s complicated… with global examples and research
See more case studies on democracy and governance.
From our articles and bulletins:
How Kirklees Council’s pioneering Democracy Friendly Schools programme is inspiring young people to get involved in local democracy: When the Kirklees Democracy Commission embarked on their exploration of what it would take to grow a stronger local democracy in Kirklees, the experiences of young citizens led to a long term commitment to change things, for the next generation – and beyond.
From Global Local
Our Global Local edition on Young People and Local Democracy is open to read with registration (free and easy!) and full of great examples on how local governments around the world are engaging with young people.
In our Risk Management and extreme events issue of Global Local, we’re examining the concept of ‘permacrisis’ and how local government can better manage risk and adaption.
Global Local is available as part of a corporate membership or individuals can subscribe for access to bulletins, select Global briefings and free attendance at our Global Local Executive Panel series of events.
From our Daily News:
Toowoomba council to apply for postal voting ahead of 2024 election
Toowoomba Regional Council will apply for the March 2024 election to be conducted solely by postal ballot, with the decision ultimately up to Queensland Local Government Minister, Steven Miles. One of the reasons for the decision was that a majority of the electors would not need to travel more than 20km or 20 minutes to cast their ballot and those that did have difficulty were giving the option of a pre-poll vote.
The Courier Mail
Courses and events:
Check out our courses and ‘build your own curriculum’ for councillors including our ‘Being an effective councillor’ track with dates throughout 2023:
Finance, economy and regulation
In February we launched our latest local government finance survey in England. Read the results.
From our Member only briefings with case studies
Exploring alternate approaches to rate-pegging/capping: the differences matter – Australia
Making the case for alternate approaches to rate-pegging/capping – Australia
See our recent finance case studies
From our Daily News service
Aberdeenshire gift card support on the way
Aberdeenshire Council has announced that £1.33m is being invested in providing thousands of local households with cost-of-living support through the Scotland Loves Local gift card scheme. Households in receipt of council tax reductions will receive £100 pre-paid gift cards under the scheme, with the cards usable with a wide range of participating local shops, services and attractions. Council leader Cllr Mark Findlater commented: “Not only will this financial support help households, it will also drive significant spending and keep that spend local right here in Aberdeenshire at a time when many of our businesses are still recovering from the pandemic while facing spiralling material costs and utility bills.” The Press and Journal
Wolverhampton council raises issue of bed poverty
City of Wolverhampton Council has said that almost 900 beds have had to be given to local children as families struggle to afford them in the cost-of-living crisis. That is out of a total of 1,279 beds which have been distributed in total. Children have been arriving at school having slept on the floor, or without a duvet or pillows, Cllr Chris Burden explained. He added the council had realised the “desperate” situation based on requests from families at its community shops. “It’s not a distinctly Wolverhampton problem”, the cabinet member for education and skills said. “We’re just the first ones to be talking about it.”
See our full collection of cost of living briefings and resources.
£65m-a-year counterfeits network smashed
Investigations by Rochdale BC have led to a criminal counterfeit goods operation “worth up to £65m a year” being broken up by police. The council’s probe unveiled a trader at the heart of a huge distribution network of dodgy goods across the UK. Council leader Neil Emmott praised Trading Standards officers for having “worked above and beyond their normal daily duties”. The investigation was aided by Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team.
Manchester Evening News
Events and courses:
Global Local Executive Panel: Finding long-term financial sustainability
18 May 2023: LGIU and the Victorian Local Government Association (VLGA) are thrilled to gather together Chief Executives from Ireland, the UK and Australia to explore the long-term financial sustainability and stability of local government. Free for Members and Global Local subscribers.
Ask the expert: state of local government finance
Join our experts from the Local Democracy Research Centre for an exclusive briefing on the results of our 2023 state of local government finance survey (England). 22 Mar 2023, 10:00–11:00 (GMT)
Reviewing local government performance – Ireland’s National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC)
Culture, tourism and heritage
From our articles with case studies
Clew Bay Bike Trail – Building momentum in Mayo First in our series of articles exploring the winners at Chambers Ireland 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards, we hear from Mayo County Council on how the Clew Bike trail won the Supporting Tourism Award.
A council planned night out? You’re having a laugh. Dave Lewis from Exeter City Council talks to us about their comedy night and how it’s brought not just laughs but contributed to the culture, heritage and economy of the city.
A strategic partnership between the Gaelic Athletic Association and local government – The GAA Green Club Programme
Translating the urgency for climate action into local communities is not always straightforward. This article by Kildare County Council’s Senior Executive Officer, Alan Dunney, highlights how a partnership between Irish local authorities and Ireland’s largest sporting organisation has been driving forward a programme of climate action activities across every town and village in Ireland.
From our Daily News service
Archive of traditional songs from County Wexford released
Hundreds of traditional song recordings from the early 1990s have been saved from digital deterioration and made available for free to the public. Produced by folklorist Michael Fortune, The County Wexford Traditional Singers Archive features 876 tracks recorded by John O’Byrne and Phil Berry from The County Wexford Traditional Singers, over a period covering January 1991 to February 1996. Funding for the project has come from the arts department of Wexford County Council via its Creative Communities Scheme. RTE.ie
Masterpieces to tour Merseyside town halls
Masterpieces by Turner, Constable, Hepworth and more are to be taken on a 10-week tour of town halls, museums and libraries in an effort to “make great art accessible to everyone”, a foundation has said. The Art Explora Mobile Museum will see part of Tate Liverpool’s Radical Landscapes exhibition tour Merseyside. Founder Frederic Jouster said he wants to bridge the “divide between those who go to museums and those who do not”. A Tate representative said it is expected that the tour will “offer a first encounter with art to groups of schoolchildren and young people across the region as well as community groups, care home residents and adults from all backgrounds”.
App brings Uist’s history to life
A new app, Uist Unearthed, has been launched by archaeologists from Lews Castle College UHI, supported by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, to bring Uist’s Iron Age structures to life for visitors. Dr Emily Gal said the team had been “really inspired by the archaeology and the landscapes we’ve got here in Uist”, adding: “We already know that archaeology can have huge benefits for people’s social life, for the economy and for things for people to do.” STV
Housing and planning
From our member briefings with case studies
Damp and mould problems have made headlines in recent months but are most UK social housing really in such bad conditions? This briefing looks at how many homes are up to standard, including fire safety and energy efficiency, and what can be done to those requiring improvement.
Look out for our Global Local edition on providing new housing from derelict or abandoned properties and land.
The Think Tank Review this month had fresh new research on housing affordability.
See more housing and planning case studies
From our Daily News Service
Dublin City Council has given an update on its energy efficiency upgrade programme – which has seen extensive upgrades completed on 9,186 of its stock of around 12,000 homes as of the end of 2022. The total cost of the programme is expected to reach around €120m, with the work to result in a reduction in maintenance costs, ongoing reductions in CO2 emissions, and cost savings for tenants of more than €800 a year. The council is seeking tenders for work on the majority of the remaining homes, and is seeking additional Government funding to complete the programme by 2030. Irish Times Online
Laois and Cork County Councils to take on hundreds of homes in unfinished estates
Councillors have been told that more than 640 homes in seven unfinished estates in North Cork are to come under the control of Cork County Council for future infrastructural maintenance. It does not mean the estates will become social housing but, rather, that the day-to-day upkeep of the estates will now be handled by the council rather than the developers which built them. The council is currently being asked to ‘take in charge’ 219 estates around the county, but it says it does not have the money necessary to fix every outstanding legacy issue in all of them. Irish Examiner
Similarly, Laois County Council members have backed plans for the council to take over 11 privately-built estates, including four in Portlaoise. Cllr Conor Bergin described one of the estates, Kyle Manor, as “one of the original ghost estates”, with only five houses built of a planned 35. “Hopefully the developer will decide to finish the estate”, he said, “but in the meantime we could make it more comfortable.” Leinster Express
Dublin CC seized 25 homes over past five years and added to housing stock
New figures show that Dublin City Council has seized 25 homes under compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) in the last five years. There are 62 derelict sites listed on the council’s register. The figures were released to Cllr Janet Horner. A response from the council CEO notes that all acquired properties were added to the social housing stock. Cllr Horner commented: “The numbers of CPOs are really quite low for derelict sites in the city. There are a huge number of derelict sites in the city and it would be great see a lot of those coming through, whether it be the CPO process or another process, and ideally used for housing.” DublinLive
Torbay Council’s first temporary house for homeless now ready
The first home bought by Torbay Council in a bid to help meet the needs of homeless families is ready to move into. The three-bedroom house, in Paignton, is one of 37 to assist people who find themselves homeless and are in urgent need of temporary accommodation. The new homes are expected to help more than 600 people a year, the council said. The local authority has borrowed £10m to fund the purchase and renovation costs. It said it currently has about 180 households in temporary accommodation. The council is working with Phi Capital Investments, which will source and acquire the properties and refurbish them to meet Decent Homes and sustainable energy standards. BBC News
Bristol council scheme tackles housing crisis by building homes in people’s back gardens
A new Bristol City Council and charity scheme is aiming to tackle the housing crisis by building micro, carbon-neutral, homes in council tenants’ back gardens. Bristol-based community land trust WeCanMake has a toolkit for unlocking micro-sites through community-led opt-in densification that is designed so other neighbourhoods can use it. The charity estimates that its scalable model for building homes in existing council sites could result in a further 33,000 affordable homes being built across England. Cllr Tom Renhard, cabinet member for housing, said: “WeCanMake offers an innovative and additional way to unlock land and deliver high quality, affordable homes where people need them most. We think it is an approach that can scale-up, both in Bristol and in helping set a new model for estate regeneration across the UK.” Daily Mail Mirror.co.uk The Times
Environment and climate change
From our articles and briefings
Why the new National Planning Framework can deliver Scotland’s environmental ambitions
As the fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) comes into play, Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of the Green Action Trust writes about the importance of embedding the climate and nature emergencies across planning policy and placing a stronger emphasis than ever before on the tangible actions that can address these twin crises.
Driving a circular economy approach to soft plastic recycling
Collecting and diverting materials from landfills is one thing but creating a circular economy for recyclable materials is another. While countries across the world operate various structures to incentivise the return of recyclable goods, this blog explores Bendigo’s plan to incentivise a circular economy for recyclable goods.
See our Global Local Edition on Risk management and extreme events – which includes environmental risks.
From our Daily News Service
Joint council reusable nappy program to launch
14 Melbourne councils have begun working with each other to develop a targeted education program to increase the use of re-useable nappies. The Best Practice Reusable Nappy Programme aims to reduce the two billion disposable nappies that end up in landfill in Australia each year and is being led by Glen Eira City Council, following a feasibility study that was conducted across 12 councils to understand current behaviours and barriers to using reusable nappies. The implementation of the program has been awarded $128,000 from Sustainability Victoria, through the Victorian Government’s Circular Economy Councils Fund.
Montrose Basin saltmarsh restoration has ‘immediate and dramatic’ impact
A project to restore the Montrose Basin saltmarsh, carried out by Angus Council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, is said to have had an “immediate and dramatic impact”, with areas that were once overgrown returned to open water – reviving plants which favour the salty environment and attracting waders and ducks. The scheme is a major element in a series of projects intended to enhance coastal habitats at Montrose Basin on the river South Esk. Herald Scotland
Tree planting on farms in Warwick
A new Warwick DC initiative will see more than 6,000 trees planted across 12 farms in the district to create new woodland areas – with the longer-term objective of planting 160,000 new trees by 2030, one for every resident in the district. Cllr Alan Rhead says the council has partnered with local farmers, giving a “huge boost” to the project, adding: “We very much hope that this initiative will go from strength to strength as we encourage more landowners to join the network.” BBC News
Beavers reintroduced to London
A new project led by Ealing Council and a number of conservation groups is to reintroduce beavers into urban London for the first time, with beavers to be introduced into Paradise Fields, an eight hectare site of woodlands and wetlands near Greenford tube station. Sean McCormack from Ealing Wildlife Group says beavers can help “create really rich and diverse wetland habitats” by damming streams, creating a series of pools, marshes and wet meadows, while reducing flood risk by slowing water flow in periods of high rainfall. I The Daily Telegraph
Wildlife returns to Montrose Basin saltpans
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has reported that wildlife has returned to the Montrose Basin saltpans – thanks to an Angus Council project to clear the area of an excess of weeds and other vegetation, and work by the trust to re-excavate the saltpan pools. The work, carried out before Christmas, was backed by the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund. Council environment project officer Anna Cowie says healthy saltmarsh “has an added aspect of being really good at storing carbon”, and can “store four times more carbon than tropical rainforests”. STV
School pupils help out with Tullamore Living River project
Pupils from Scoil Bhride in Tullamore have visited the Tullamore Living River project, launched by Offaly County Council in 2020, to help plant trees in the new wetlands park in Kilcruttin. Cllr Sean O’Brien, a member of Tullamore Tidy Towns, says pupils from local schools were invited “to give them an interest in the project and know what is there every day when they pass by”. Offaly Express
Technology and infrastrutcture
From our briefings and articles
Clew Bay Bike Trail – Building momentum in Mayo
First in our series of articles exploring the winners at Chambers Ireland 2022 Excellence in Local Government Awards, we hear from Mayo County Council on how the Clew Bike trail won the Supporting Tourism Award.
Fast paced changes but is it fast enough? A call for action from Coventry City Council
Andy Williams, Director of Business, Investment and Culture at Coventry City Council, reflects on recent changes across the nation and what this all means for his local authority and Coventry as a whole – who are spearheading opportunities for significant technological development right now.
Five things I learned from a failed social care tech project
From our Daily News Service
Northern Beaches signs up to use Elon Musk’s Starlink network
The Northern Beaches Council in New South Wales has signed up to use Elon Musk’s Starlink low earth orbit (LEO) satellite service, in a bid to ensure critical communication services stay online in case of another natural disaster such as the storms and heavy rainfall of 2022. Council’s deal with Macquarie-owned Vocus, which resells the Starlink service in Australia, will see the LEO links spread across 37 key locations including childcare centres, lifesaving clubs and the NSW rural fire service. The satellites provide an alternative to fibre cables, which can be taken out by floods and fires. Northern Beaches Council chief technology and operations officer, Michael Turner, said the agreement will also reduce costs associated with fixing unreliable network connections or black spot locations.
Sydney Morning Herald
Councils find new uses for parking spaces
The Sunday Times looks at increasingly common moves by local authorities to repurpose parking spaces – partly to encourage motorists to walk, cycle, or use public transport, and to provide community benefits like pop-up cafes, wildflower beds and bike shelters. Lambeth Council is planning to remove a quarter of parking spaces in the borough by 2030, while Birmingham, Harrogate, and other areas are also planning cuts to parking provision. A Lambeth Council report notes that currently, “the true cost to society of private motor vehicle use, relative to other uses, is not reflected in the price of our parking”, with families in some cases paying more for permits to park one bike each in a bike hangar for a year than to park a car. The Sunday Times
Welfare and care
From our briefings and articles
Global Local: Maternal and child health
Orkney council committee backs new menopause policy
Orkney Islands Council’s human resources sub-committee has backed a new policy designed to support staff at the local authority experiencing menopausal symptoms. The draft policy also aims to help managers support and understand staff going through menopause. Stand-in chair for the sub-committee, Cllr John Ross Scott, said he was surprised the council does not have a menopause policy already but said it was a very important issue to highlight. He said: “We need to be more open about menopause – it used to be a taboo subject. It’s no longer taboo and it affects the population. It’s good that we’ve got this policy coming forward.” The Press and Journal
North Ayrshire Council worker details gambling addiction recovery
Christopher Collins, a recovering compulsive gambler who works for North Ayrshire Council has shared his battle to overcome the addiction. Mr Collins said he is proud of the local authority for creating its own in-house guide to help staff manage the harms caused by gambling and signing up for the Harmful Gambling Workplace Charter. He said: “It is one day at a time for me, absolutely no gambling. I can’t even do a tombola or a raffle. But I like myself now, and when I was gambling I didn’t. I am really proud of this council for being the first in Ayrshire to provide this type of support and guidance through the HR Guide and the charter because, in my opinion, there is a crisis out there.” The Daily Record