Is there much rigour to the Spending Review?
The District Councils’ Network’s clear requests include a year-on-year, real-terms increase in Government-funded spending power across the Spending Review, with the certainty and stability of a multi-year financial settlement, says Ian Miller.
Why we want chief executives to be treated fairly
The offer of a 1.5% pay increase for chief executives is ‘a move away from arrangements that have successfully operated since 2016’, says Ian Miller.
Significant procurement challenges lie ahead for districts
Procurement is likely to involved significant challenges for district councils now and in the years ahead, says Ian Miller. 'It remains to be seen whether national or local priorities will govern councils' purchases'.
Composting in gardens is better for the environment
If funding is less than the cost of free garden waste collection, households without gardens will have to contribute for a service they can never receive, says Ian Miller.
Local elections 2021: The process demands too much of teams
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 dreamy world of local government
Ian Miller waxes lyrical on a local government sector transformed into a paradise of five-yearly council tax revaluations, binned bidding rounds and mature joint working between district and county councils.
Local government settlement shows Government is not in listening mode
It is clear from the final local government settlement that the Government did not pay attention to the submissions of councils, including districts, says Ian Miller. The consultation with the sector on council tax increases 'seems a sham', he adds.
The devolution waiting game
The Prime Minister has said that ‘devolution…should be used as a step to pass power to local communities and businesses to make their lives better’. Is this the sort of devolution that councils expect, asks Ian Miller.
The Government cannot keep kicking the can down the road
Despite manifesto commitments, there will have to be tax rises to repay that massive debt, writes Ian Miller - and support for well-funded public services has found a new voice during the pandemic, he adds.
We're not the 'parents'
District and shire county councils would all face abolition if the Government’s formula for the devolution White Paper is implemented, says Ian Miller. And let’s hope Whitehall doesn’t think town and parish councils will need 'parenting', he adds.
The Government has moved away from undertaking to meet the pandemic's costs
The finances of districts and other councils, already under strain before the pandemic, may deteriorate further, writes Ian Miller. - and questions about which services can be sustained are among those that will come to the fore.
We need to be ready to cope with the next shock
When the opportunity to reflect comes, Ian Miller feels the conclusion may be reached that the UK was not well prepared for COVID-19.
Councils need a breathing space
Councils’ priorities are now focused on fighting coronavirus, says Ian Miller – and this urgently requires a Government-wide approach suspending policy and legislative initiatives for at least three months.
Sharing of powers is not devolution
District councils need a broader range of fiscal devolution, starting with the taxes, fees and charges that councils already collect, says Ian Miller.
Don't seek to frustrate legitimate use of powers by the back door
Councils must have regard to the MHCLG guidance on investments, says Ian Miller. But a power to give guidance 'is not a power to limit councils' statutory powers by diktat', he adds.
Spending Round still leaves uncertainties
The proposed threshold of 2% for referenda on 'excessive' council tax increases is a retrograde step, when the principle was 3% for the current financial year, says Ian Miller.
Scrap the cap on council tax
Ian Miller issues a call to arms to give councils freedom over council tax rises to truly 'turn the page on austerity'.
Districts are still waiting for those funding assurances
The opening of the Treasury's purse since the new Prime Minister came into office may augur well for district councils and the rest of local government, says Ian Miller.
It's time for a radical rethink on exit payments
The Treasury's proposals for a cap on exit payments need a radical rethink - and ministers must also rapidly address a shopping list of more important issues for districts, says Ian Miller..
Counting the costs of the 'break-neck speed' EU elections
Returning officer Ian Miller writes in a personal capacity about the lessons Government and the House of Commons must learn after two major elections within three weeks - and he backs the recent Localis call for five-year terms for councillors.