Local democracy

  • Virtual judgements v real impact

    12 May 2021

    Councils should have the choice of holding remote meetings, not just during the pandemic but afterwards too, says Sir Bob Neill.


  • Local elections 2021: Look behind the big story

    11 May 2021

    A closer look at the Super Thursday outcomes reveals a series of more complex stories, and suggests a centrally-driven levelling up agenda would be an error, says Jonathan Carr West.


  • Local elections 2021: The system creaked in the face of the number of polls

    11 May 2021

    There were a variety of problems both ahead of and during polling day, says Peter Stanyon.


  • Queen's Speech: Controversial voter ID plans roll forward

    11 May 2021

    Voter ID is expected to be introduced by May 2023 after the Government pledged to introduce legislation to ‘ensure the integrity of elections’.


  • Local elections 2021: The process demands too much of teams

    10 May 2021

    Ian Miller ponders the impact of Super Thursday on the mental health of electoral teams, and says the demands are excessive, even in a ‘normal’ election.


  • The end of council virtual meetings. What’s next?

    10 May 2021

    David Kitson of Bevan Brittan says councils should now focus on how they can safely facilitate meetings -  and he considers alternatives to the pre-pandemic arrangements.


  • Forcing councils to physically meet risks ‘democratic deficit’

    05 May 2021

    Councils in England should be ‘trusted to continue to deliver virtual meetings successfully as they are in Wales and Scotland,’ says chair of ADSO John Austin.


  • Getting the basics right on standards

    05 May 2021

    Joanne Roney says it is ‘high time’ the Government responded to the recommendations in the 2019 Committee for Standards in Public Life’s report on ethical standards in local government.


  • Elections like no other

    05 May 2021

    Sheila Oxtoby outlines the scale of the preparations for the operation of polling stations and counts to mitigate risk and ensure openness and transparency during 'elections like no other'.


  • Will Zoom speed up reform?

    05 May 2021

    As the Government plans a new round of public sector reform Michael Burton considers the impact of the Zoom revolution.


  • ADSO vows to fight on in virtual meeting battle

    04 May 2021

    Election experts have vowed to carry on fighting to give councils the choice to hold meetings virtually despite last week’s legal ruling.


  • Virtual meeting challenge dismissed by High Court

    28 April 2021

    Councils will not be able to continue to meet virtually after 6 May after High Court judges dismissed a legal challenge by local government.


  • The case for virtual meetings

    27 April 2021

    Jackie Weaver – star of Handforth Parish Council’s viral meeting – argues the case for stepping out of the dark ages and allowing councils to hold their meetings online.


  • Local government must retain its 'sovereignty'

    27 April 2021

    Local government has been repeatedly reformed, reshaped and hollowed out, says Arianna Giovannini. 'It needs greater independence, financial autonomy and a clear place in our constitution.'


  • District's loophole to allow virtual meetings

    22 April 2021

    A district council has come up with a loophole to allow it to carry on with virtual meetings when the legislation expires on 6 May.


  • Problematic predictions

    20 April 2021

    Paul Wheeler looks at how the Super Thursday electoral feast is shaping up. He highlights the key trends that are marking these ‘postal vote elections’.


  • Admit when you’re wrong

    20 April 2021

    If we know less and less about successes and failures because we allow denial of the truth and a refusal to admit mistakes, then we will be a weaker society for it, says Dan Corry.


  • The case for remote meetings to continue

    15 April 2021

    The Local Government Act 1972 permits council meetings to take place virtually, argue John Austin and Quentin Baker. A change in the law is not required, in their view.


  • Now is the time to retain remote meetings

    15 April 2021

    Parliamentary time was found for flags and statues, says Cllr Brigid Jones. For virtual meetings ‘I’m sure the safety of 20,000 councillors can’t be much further down the priority list’, she adds.


  • A philosophy of complaints

    13 April 2021

    Nick Graham looks at whether ‘honour cultures’ might teach us more effective methods of resolving disputes – and outlines practical ways to foster an honour-based approach.