Democracy, devolution and governance

Making sure that citizens have a voice through strong and vibrant local institutions.

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An inspector calls

It was an early start on Day Three of the marathon Children and Adult Services conference in Harrogate this week, but the leaders of people services were still wide awake.  And with good reason. Secretary of State for Children, Ed Balls was first up that morning and got short shrift for his refusal to reduce…

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ADCS president misjudgement

At the height of the Baby Peter case last year following the Sun Newspaper’s mass petition and vilification of public servant Sharon Shoesmith and her subsequent dismissal by Secretary of State Ed Balls the ADCS remained quiet. So it was with surprise that I learned that, on the eve of Shoesmith’s High Court Case against the…

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Education, education, education?

Labour made what many delegates may consider to have been a great start on education at the party’s annual Conference in Brighton. Gordon Brown promised no cuts to the schools budget. Later Ed Balls Secretary of State detailed the party’s balance sheet on children’s services; highlights include the establishment of a sure start children centre in every community, free…

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Lib Dems vote to publish results of serious case reviews

In Bournemouth today Annette Brooke MP (Shadow Minister for Children) updated the Lib Dem policy on child protection. The purpose is to renew their position following the tragic case of Baby Peter. The raft of new proposals includes a public awareness campaign to make child protection everybody’s business. Nobody would disagree with that, but more  controversially, they want the…

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A stronger national voice for social work!

The Social Work Task Force interim report entitled Facing up to the task was published today. It covers the important theme of the future of social work and sets out detailed programme for reform. The final report is not expected until the end of year; however the Task Force is already clear that its recommendations…

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Morgan Stanley, a teenage scribbler and the fate of social media

The City is abuzz with a report on social media written by a 15 year old for Morgan Stanley. But what should local authorities take from it? 1) Teenagers don’t read newspapers. Who’s reading your newsletter? Think of other ways of communicating if you want to get through to young people. 2) Avoid fads. Young…

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Alastair Campbell Vs Peggy Mitchell

We blogged back in February saying Eastenders would run a story on Peggy Mitchell standing as a councillor, and here we were, wondering whether the BBC would take the campaign seriously. Well, it would seem that they are, as is Alastair Campbell. In a world where fiction and reality have collided, Alastair Campbell (real person)…

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Laming and Baby P

Lord Laming’s report into safeguarding children will be published later today. At the LGiU we hope this is the start of a new approach that enables us to move forward, following the botched response to the Baby P case which made matters worse. While the government was throwing red meat to the tabloids, and contributing…

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Liberal Democrats keep the faith in Harrogate

Children and families were a key feature of the Liberal Democrat Spring conference this weekend in Harrogate. They voted in ‘Equity and Excellence’ (PDF), a motion to improve 5-19 Education.  A heated debate ensued and the Lib Dems almost but didn’t quite agree to scrap state funded faith schools. The proposals that they did vote in…

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Social Networking Action Set shrugs off scare stories

With a bit of luck, people will take this week’s scary headlines about social networking sites with a pinch of salt. They certainly did little to deter the group of 37 experts representing 30 local authorities that make up the LGiU Action Learning Set on Youth Participation and Social Networking Sites. On Wednesday and Thursday…

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