Saturday, 31 December 2011

What future for local government?

I discovered that there is a Commission on Local Government gathering evidence on various issues relating to Civic Enterprise. Today, I submitted my comments highlighting some examples of collaboration between the Council, the Private Sector and the Third Sector.

In the year ahead, Local Government services have to adapt to scale of the bank bailouts, the economic impact of the recession, increasing demand for social housing, falling public revenues and rising government debt. Cost reduction strategies and cost management of services require to be addressed.

Decision-making on reducing the cost of services can be participative based on principles of disclosure, openness and transparency. Different perspectives can be gained from people across the private and voluntary sectors, service users, professional experts, trade unions, Glasgow's citizens and taxpayers, and politicians. This can unlock the development of smarter working between people who are stakeholders in the services, better coordination of resources, and innovation to bring efficiencies and more effective service provision.

New services and investments should fit with an economic strategy based on the transition to a low-carbon economic model. This work is led by the various groups including the Transition Town Movement, New Economic Foundation and the Green New Deal. Developments in energy efficiency and renewable energy production are the key to success. A warm homes agenda is required with investment in the social rented housing sector to provide affordable places to live for young people and families.  Public transport infrastructure (railway stations and rail network, buses, existing roadways) require to be improved. Low emissions and/or electric vehicles, which are fully accessible and affordable, can support sustainable travel choices. Further investment is required in dedicated cycle paths and footways through our towns and cities to promote active living and relieve congestion.

Over the festive break, I have read "Re-imagining Government - public leadership and management in challenging times" by Barry Quirk. This book gives helpful insights and promotes Local Government's role in encouraging the emergence of cooperation. 

The main message I have gained is that Local Government should be able to govern by facilitating public discussion, mediating between different interests, building common goals and assisting people from different sectors to come together to address their common concerns. Local politicians have to seek to help their citizens to be self-reliant, resilient and resourceful by building their capabilities and confidence in face of rapid change.

Useful Link:

Commission into the Future of Local Government -

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