England & Wales

What we’re reading 30/11/10


Councils in charge of healthy lifestyle drive. The Government’s White Paper has, as expected, put councils in charge of public health. Local public health directors will be moved out of the NHS and into local government. The LGiU has found broad support for the move in our recent DoH-commissioned paper. But the report has also identified significant risks. Councils are concerned that the speed and scale of reform could result in a loss of focus on preventative action, the fragmentation of local health services and non-alignment of council services with the new GP consortia. Report author Janet Sillett will be providing a full briefing for LGiU members on the implications of the White Paper once its published.

It’s going to be tough. LGiU Chief Executive Andy Sawford has contributed to an LGC briefing on council spending cuts. Andy argues that the government is going to have to be more supportive of innovation and more tolerant of failure that inevitably goes with that. Managing risk will be hard in this new world . Some areas, such as child safety, might be protected forever but in others more risks will have to be taken.

Lewisham town hall protest broken up by riot police. This surely won’t be the last rumpus that councils and the police will have to contend with as the cuts begin to bite.

Cumbria’s libraries help people have their say on council priorities and budget options. An interesting example of good-old-fashioned and high-tech council services working together. The council’s libraries will be offering free internet access specifically for people wanting to fill in its online consultation on spending cuts. The site’s had 2,229 visits in its first week alone.

Councils are spending £314 million per year on CCTV. A new report has found that 10 councils are spending over £3 million per year. I can’t really comment on whether that represents value or not. It does, however, sound like an awful lot of money.