A golden age for local government could lie ahead
Far from being dealt a poor hand, local government looks to be a winner from the reshuffle, says Claire Kober.
We need to ask 'what are offices for' ?
Ministers are said to be concerned that despite the easing of COVID restrictions, few staff are coming into the office. Claire Kober says that at root there seems to be an implication that working from home is no more than an excuse to loaf.
Hitting the target but missing the point
A report by the Institute for Government highlights the risks of a target culture - 'prioritising easy wins, ignoring important issues and manipulating data', says Claire Kober.
The importance of autonomy, flexibility and connection
Claire Kober highlights the fundamentals that need revisiting 'in a world that feels very different to that of 12 months ago'.
Councils must take a leading role in our economic recovery
It cannot be left to central Government to determine the labour market strategy and lead on it, says Claire Kober. 'The local government sector has demonstrated its ability to reach areas central Government cannot.'
We need to focus on developing our collective resilience
Claire Kober says that while the tendency in a crisis is to fix the urgent and push everything else aside, 'taking time to focus on developing our collective resilience feels to be just as important'.
Councils and charities must stand shoulder to shoulder to lead the rebuild
While there’s a natural tendency to fight our own local government corner first, the smart approach is to recognise many charities are critical to the delivery of many public services. says Claire Kober.
Grappling with the long tail of the pandemic
It doesn’t matter how much the capacity and availability of testing is increased or how much the contact-tracing system is improved if people are simply going to ignore the instructions, says Claire Kober.
It's time for a serious, adult conversation on future funding
While the Government is right to caution against councils overexposing themselves on commercial investments, it needs to recognise its own role in creating this situation, according to Claire Kober.
The lesson of the last 10 weeks
Increasing social capital in the long-term could be a positive legacy of the crisis and councils are surely the bodies to enable it, argues Claire Kober.
Positives we can take from the COVID-19 pandemic
It’s taken a crisis for people to recognise the vital roles performed by street cleaners and social care staff, as well as supermarket workers and delivery drivers, writes Claire Kober.
Councils are survivors
Claire Kober says that while the year ahead promises its up and downs, The MJ's columnists are united on the resilience of the sector and its ability to withstand whatever is thrown at it.
Beyond the supply and demand equation
While we need to rapidly increase the supply of new homes, simply building more will not be enough; what we build, not just how much we build, matters, says Claire Kober.
Can the party leaders cut through to the issues that matter most?
In the context of moving into almost presidential-style elections with a huge focus on party leaders, how will they cut through to speak to the issues that matter to people most, asks Claire Kober.
It's time to act on improving women's representation in local government
There are a raft of measures that could improve the under-representation of women in our council chambers - many of which are set out by the Fawcett Society, says Claire Kober.
Three thoughts on Brexit
Claire Kober offers three thoughts on Brexit - and says that as fantasy politics grips Westminster and Whitehall, it’s time for local government to do what it does best: delivering ambitious solutions to everyday challenges.
Spending Review needs to embody 'strategic, systematic change'
At the Local Government Association (LGA) annual conference, Claire Kober noted the biggest shift in terms of what felt different was the marked deterioration in chief executive's confidence that they can keep on weathering the funding storm.
Has the sector turned its back on the race to the bottom mentality?
We need to be honest in local government about the value of attracting high calibre people, according to Claire Kober.
How not to handle an announcement
The launch of a Stronger Towns Fund to give a boost to the Government hasn't exactly gone to plan, argues Claire Kober - instead it has been a masterclass in how not to handle a political announcement.
Local politicians must take the lead in uniting communities
Given the febrile atmosphere that surrounds public debate in the run-up to 29 March, local politicians must take the lead and work with partners to bring communities together, says Claire Kober.