Local government lies at the heart of the public services. Our councils play a vital role in keeping the wheels of society turning, whether that’s by providing schools for our children, social care for the elderly and vulnerable, or public health protection for us all. Yet they remain a mystery to many outside the sector. And to some in it.
So I’m writing an introductory guide to local government in England, which will help readers to understand what local government is, what it does and how it’s funded. It will explain who makes the decisions and what makes our councils tick. And it will, hopefully, give a flavour of the complex challenges that local government faces.
Because I’m trying to research and write the guide around my other work, I’m publishing each chapter as it’s ready. Otherwise, we might be waiting for some time…
1. Introducing local government
The structure of local government in England and the different types of councils. Including why some of us have more councils than others and what the tiny city of Wells in Somerset has in common with the urban behemoth of Birmingham. Plus the overwhelming range of services that local authorities provide. Read it here.
2. How local government works
The people who make the decisions in local government and how they are elected. With consideration of electoral cycles, party politics and how councils can end up under ‘no overall control’. Also an overview of what makes a typical councillor and a slightly nerdy discussion about the different ways that councils can make decisions. Read it here.
I’m currently writing the third part, which will look at how local government is funded.
After that, I’ll be looking at trends in local government over the years and some of the challenges that our councils face at this present time. I’ll also share some thoughts – from me and from others – on what the future might hold.
If you’d like to share your own thoughts on local government, or to suggest something for inclusion in the guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.