Bob Neill is former local government minister
Cultural steps can get us back on our feet
While evidence is growing that shows how important the arts can be for our health, Bob Neill says that the cultural sector should be seen as an ally in efforts to turbocharge our recovery from the pandemic.
A bounce back Budget
We got spending – and lots of it – in the Budget, yet its contents reflected conflict within the Cabinet on whether to push ahead with a Milton Friedman-style smaller government. Sir Bob Neill explains.
Redrawing the boundaries
Parliamentary Boundary Commission proposals to change constituency boundaries have the potential to impact how the residents we serve are represented. Sir Bob Neill argues for councils to make their voices heard on where boundaries should lie.
A mixed bag for councils
While Sir Bob Neill says there was much in the Spending Review to applaud, ‘what’s ultimately needed is a complete repair job of local government finance’.
Talk to councils first on COVID
The centre’s lack of communication with councils on crucial aspects of COVID policy – including the marshals scheme and localised shielding – points to a system under strain, says Sir Bob Neill.
We need to break the deadlock
This weekend marks the three-year anniversary of the tragic fire at Grenfell. While welcoming the announcement in March of the £1bn Building Safety Fund, Sir Bob Neill says bureaucracy must not get in the way of delivery.
We must take stock
Sir Bob Neill says that in the ‘grown-up public discussion’ that he hopes will take place after the pandemic has subsided, ‘we should give serious thought to what is expected of local government’
Councils are at the heart of this fight
Councils’ understanding of the communities they serve and ability to disseminate information to residents, including ‘at risk’ groups, will be universally relied upon over the coming weeks, writes Sir Bob Neill.
Reflections on a reshuffle
Bob Neill looks at what the latest Cabinet reshuffle will mean to local government and why the sector has to get its feet under the top table – now.
Time for more than warm words
Bob Neill says the deadlock that has racked Westminster for the last three years means real action is now needed on housing, social care, energy and infrastructure.
Working together after the storm
At first glance there’s much for local government to get its teeth into in the Queen’s Speech, not least the promise of further devolution, says Bob Neill. But more frustratingly the wait continues for the Green Paper on social care.
Preserving the delicate balance
Bob Neill says that in too many cases the delicate balance between recovering what is owed to councils and providing a duty of care to the vulnerable is not being achieved.
Be bold with Boris
As a former mayor of London, Boris Johnson understands devolution. Bob Neill urges the sector not to waste the opportunity of a local government-savvy Prime Minister
Banging on the Treasury’s door
The whole sector needs to get behind MHCLG to ensure it punches above its weight and ‘has the clout to bring home the goods’ from the Spending Review. And that means a few things, according to Bob Neill
Not enough is being done to prevent a system that sets people up to fail as soon as they are released from prison, says Bob Neill. It’s time for a holistic, multi-agency approach, done with local government involvement.
Candidates – don’t forget the local
Voters in local elections are seeking tangible action on the ground, argues Bob Neill, and local candidates recognising this reality will be rewarded for it at the ballot box
Tackling knife crime must top to-do list
A holistic, whole-systems approach focusing on early, effective intervention is vital if we are to halt knife crime. This can only be done by working together and making use of the sector’s know-how, as Bob Neill argues
Councils caught in the middle
Bob Neill says nailing down a robust framework to strengthen scrutiny is an essential part of the management and delivery of academies – and we still haven’t adequately filled the guardian role local authorities carry out for maintained schools
Grenfell’s unresolved conundrum
Nineteen months on from the fire at Grenfell Tower and we are no closer to addressing the question of who should foot the bill for the remedial work necessary for privately-owned buildings with equally dangerous cladding. Bob Neill explains
We’re not beggars and we can be choosers
With the amount of collective resources and brainpower going into the national housebuilding programme, we shouldn’t be faced with a choice between quantity and quality, argues Bob Neill