Javid holds out olive branch to the sector

By Heather Jameson | 11 July 2017

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has held out an olive branch to local government in the aftermath of his disastrous speech to the Local Government Association conference speech last week. 

The secretary of state was highly criticised for his speech in Birmingham after he claimed there was a ‘crisis of confidence’ in local government. Head of the LGA’s Labour group, Cllr Nick Forbes described it as a ‘shameful attempt to place the failings of one authority at the feet of the whole sector’.

After a flying visit to the conference, he is understood to have dashed back to London, cancelling a number of planned appearances.
 
The Conservative chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), Lord Porter, revealed he gave him an earful about his speech in a ‘difficult’ phone call later that day.
 
Mr Javid’s speech to the LGA was made just moments after Lord Porter had told the conference that the sector had a ‘friend in Saj who is prepared to fight our corner with the Treasury and other departments’.
 
The MJ understands that permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, Melanie Dawes, fed back to Mr Javid that his speech neither had the ‘right tone nor content’ after she was put under pressure by council chief executives.
 
In a private meeting, president of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, Jo Miller, is believed to have stressed to Ms Dawes that the performance of Kensington & Chelsea RLBC after the Grenfell Tower fire did not ‘define local government as a whole’.
 
 

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