Making devolution work for all: Grabbing and grappling with the opportunity

The University of Manchester and Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) play host to the Making Devolution Work conference next week. To mark the event CLES’s Chief Executive Neil McInroy writes the first of a series of blogs around the conference, examining what devolution could mean for the region and country. The UK is massively […]

Town Hall

Is the local government party really now over?

After crying ‘wolf’ for several years, councils are now faced with very real difficulty in balancing their books, warns Nick Clifford. More than 50 years ago, in 1962, there was a hit for Lonnie Donegan called ‘The Party’s Over’. 40 years ago Tony Crosland, then Secretary of State for Local Government, gave a speech to […]


Ethnic inequalities in health – policy paralysis and the need to be ambitious

How and why does policy continue to fail to address inequalities in health? asks Professor James Nazroo. A recent report on inequalities in health, commissioned by the British Academy, brought together responses to the question, “What one policy could make a difference if implemented at a local level?” The context was, of course, local government, […]


Will tomorrow be a turning point in British politics?

This year’s European elections and Scottish referendum may signify a more profound change in British politics than the General Election in 2015, writes Ed Cox. Taken together, they present an opportunity for the people of the United Kingdom to send a clear message to the mainstream political parties. Tomorrow’s local and European elections are not […]

Calculator, graph and pen

Is scrutiny in Wales about to come of age?

Until recently, many people have considered scrutiny in Welsh local government as the ‘poor cousin’ of the local democracy, writes Alan Morris.  It’s had a turbulent few years and some members of the local government community have questioned its value. However, he argues that the recognition of scrutiny’s important role seems to be about to […]

Salad, juice, apples, doctors

Public health: is the glass half full or half empty?

Dr Julia Segar was one of those out in force during Manchester Policy Week to hear Durham University’s Professor David Hunter and Manchester’s own Professor Steve Harrison ponder whether optimism or pessimism should prevail in the light of recent changes to the way public health is organised. The recent healthcare reforms have seen public health […]

Blears: Joined-Up Jargon Queen Quits Government

Hazel Blears, Communities and Local Government Secretary in the Labour Government has announced her decision to leave the government on the eve of local government elections in England, in what is being widely seen as direct attack on PM Gordon Brown. “In this next phase of my political life I am redoubling my efforts to […]

Jargon-busting or dumbing down?

The Local Government Association (LGA) has published a list of 200 “jargon” words and their ‘plain English’ equivalents. But is this really jargon-busting, or patronising dumbing-down?

Modernising Government Mk II: ‘Working Together’

Back in 1999 ‘Modernising Government’ was finally published. After nearly two years gestation the general verdict was that it was indeed an elephant – huge, sprawling and ungainly. Everything including the kitchen-sink had been thrown into the lengthy, turgid and mind-numbingly boring document. Well, now we have Modernising Government II – or ‘Working Together: Public […]

From CPA to CAA – Local Government Gets Lost in Translation?

The Audit Commission published its final CPA (comprehensive performance assessment) report on English local government this week.