England & Wales Personal and organisational development

The Future Town Hall: How will local government be different 30 years from now?


On 9th December 2013, to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary, the LGiU launched our latest publication The Future Town Hall: How will local government be different 30 years from now? The publication brings together thinking by leading local government practitioners, commentators and thinkers on what local democracy might look thirty years from now. The collection was opened by the Chair of the LGiU Board, Cllr Dave Wilcox, Derbyshire County Council, who gave special thanks to all those who’ve contributed to LGiU’s development in the last thirty years. The collection features contributions from Sir Merrick Cockell, Rt Hon. David Blunkett MP, Cllr Ruth Dombey, Chris Horlick, Caroline Abrahams and Richard Puleston.

Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of the LGiU, concludes the collection. He writes that the richness and variety of these contributions resist easy summary, but that some key themes come through. He notes that there’s a broad consensus that local government must continue to reconcile diminishing resource with a growing set of complex challenges: how to reset local economies, how to care for an ageing population, how to provide young people with the skills they need and decent homes to live in, how to build resilient, supportive communities and many more.

He notes that there are different views about whether these challenges will be best met by much larger councils or much more local ones. And there is perhaps more hope than expectation about a radical transfer of power away from Whitehall and Westminster.

He says that LGiU believes that’s a prize worth fighting for because the challenges we face are too complex and too particular to be solved by broad national solutions. Instead, he says we must draw on the creativity and civic energy of local communities and we must think differently about our roles as citizens, seeing ourselves not simply as consumers of public services but as genuine partners in them.

Jonathan concludes by saying that the insights collected here do not constitute a plan or a road map, but that LGiU hopes they will provide some points of inspiration from which to start.

LGiU held an event to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary and to launch the publication on 9th December 2013. We also displayed photos from LGiU and local government past and present. Click here see photos from the event by Andrew Wiard.

You can read the publication here.