An introduction to local government

Local government lies at the heart of the public services. Our councils play a vital role in keeping the wheels of society turning, 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 explain what local government is, what it does and how it’s funded. It will explore what makes our councils tick. And it will, hopefully, give a flavour of the complex challenges that they face.

Because I’m writing the guide around my other work, I’m publishing each chapter as it’s ready. Otherwise, we might be waiting for some time. You can read what I’ve written so far, and learn about my plans for the rest of the guide, on my local government insight page.

Strategic planning when anything could happen

Long-term planning in the world as it stands at the moment might seem like a bit of a mug’s game. But that’s not because things change. Change, after all, is to be expected. Rather, it’s because everything’s changing. And it’s changing a lot. We can’t take anything for granted any more. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t bother with long-term plans, though. It just means that we need to approach them in a different way.

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Hot off the press

The latest issue of the Sockmonthly, my monthly newsletter, is hot off the press. With talk of business models, webinars, climate change… and penguins! Read it now. And if you like what you see, sign up here to get the next issue direct to your inbox. You’ll only hear from me once a month. And I’ll make a donation to a local charity for each new subscriber.

Business models in a changing world

I think I’m in the same boat as pretty much everyone on the planet when I say that this year isn’t turning out quite how I thought it would. And like pretty much everyone else, I also don’t know whether the current crisis represents a temporary diversion from business as usual or a more profound and permanent change. What I do know, though, is that if it turns out to be the latter, some of our organisational business models are going to struggle. And they’ll need to adapt – quickly – if organisations are to survive. Continue reading

Improving financial management in local authorities

CIPFA FM Code GN

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has just published the guidance notes to accompany its new Financial Management Code. The guidance notes will help local authorities to improve further the robustness and resilience of their financial management arrangements. And I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to work with CIPFA to prepare them. Continue reading