• Government needs to better clarify the responsibility of councils in net-zero

    14 September 2021

    A report from the County Councils' Network finds that a city-centric focus to climate funding and policies has been to the detriment of counties, says Nicola Beach.

  • Data shows the difference

    06 September 2021

    Despite all the legislation and guidance, there is still endless variation in local government, says Abdool Kara. Data helps compare the difference.

  • Mind the Gap

    31 August 2021

    Geoff Tucker at Norse explains how partnership income is easing councils’ funding gap.

  • Don’t panic! We’ll still collect your bins!

    16 August 2021

    Brian Norris and Rob Bradshaw look at communicating budgetary restraint in local government. Clarity, transparency, and a clear focus on residents’ priorities are key, they say.

  • Is funding meeting councils’ needs on decarbonationisation?

    10 August 2021

    Analysis by Nesta raises some questions about the effectiveness of competitive grant funding schemes to support local authorities’ role in home decarbonisation, says Madeleine Gabriel.

  • Johnson has flunked levelling up explanation chance, says MP

    22 July 2021

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ‘flunked’ his chance to explain what levelling up means, the chair of a parliamentary committee has claimed.

  • Who will crack care?

    20 July 2021

    The Government must raise enough funding to end the unsatisfactory adult social care system and ensure a skilled workforce is both attracted and retained, writes Sir Bob Neill.

  • Councils need more data for test and trace, says watchdog

    25 June 2021

    Local authorities’ involvement in test and trace has improved the service – but councils still need more data, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

  • NAO - jobs support must align with wider government recovery strategy

    10 June 2021

    The Department for Work and Pensions’ pandemic jobs support must align with the wider government economic recovery strategy, says the public spending watchdog.

  • Playing it long

    02 June 2021

    A Localis policy webinar on long-term local government finances indicated strategic pragmatism will be order of the day for the sector until the mid-2020s, writes Jonathan Werran.

  • Change is in the air

    19 May 2021

    In anticipation of its forthcoming report on councils and net zero, the National Audit Office asked a round table of local government experts hosted by The MJ what they were doing on climate change – and what they needed from central government.

  • The future is already here

    19 May 2021

    Success can only come from choosing our battles - and our timing - well, and working for change collaboratively across the sector, says Abdool Kara.

  • COVID crisis exposed council underfunding, says watchdog

    19 May 2021

    The COVID crisis exposed existing weaknesses in public services, including the underfunding of local government and the neglect of social care, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

  • Bucket list for fixing council finances

    08 April 2021

    Co-designing a truly sustainable finance system for councils for the long-term ‘won’t be quick and it won’t be easy’, says Martin Reeves. A few more years of ‘make do and mend’ will not work for our communities and economies, he adds.

  • Let's see what happens on longer-term funding

    31 March 2021

    Lorna Baxter gave evidence at the Public Accounts Committee in response to the NAO report on local government finance during COVID. She says there is acknowledgement that the longer-term funding and distribution mechanism needs to be addressed.

  • Short-term funding has held back care, says watchdog

    25 March 2021

    Short-term funding has held back investment in the unstable £16.5bn adult social care market despite a forecast 57% in demand from the over-65s by 2036 says a report from the National Audit Office (NAO).

  • The White Paper recognises coterminosity makes a strategic difference

    23 March 2021

    Abdool Kara asks if the lessons of Lansley will be learned, 'especially the making-redundant-then-rehiring of health professionals strategy that cost the public purse dearly in 2011?'

  • Marsham Street told to improve transparency

    19 March 2021

    The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has come under fire from finance watchdogs for a lack of transparency.

  • Watchdog warns of post-pandemic underfunding crisis

    16 March 2021

    Local government has been praised by the national finance watchdog for its response to the pandemic but faces severe budget pressures unless the Treasury initiates multi-year settlements, Michael Burton reports.

  • Fewer than half of local audits done by deadline, watchdog finds

    16 March 2021

    Fewer than half of local public bodies’ 2019-20 audits were completed by last November, despite a deadline already pushed back due to COVID, says a spending watchdog.