Lawrence Conway is chief executive of South Lakeland DC
An impressive transformation
South Lakeland DC's main office building has been refurbished as one element in a wholesale transformation of the organisation, says Lawrence Conway. The council is 'now in the position to further embed our new ways of working', he adds.
We need to avoid a fractured, inefficient and uneven model of recovery
Any improvement to local facilities, whether economic, leisure, hardship or climate-related, should be planted in a future that communities can recognise and buy into, argues Lawrence Conway.
The data tells a clear story of what's needed to rebuild back better
South Lakeland has the highest percentage of furloughed employees in England. The gulf that exists between the criteria for levelling up funding and this set of economic circumstances is not lost on anyone locally, says Lawrence Conway.
Cementing growth plans in The Bay
Whatever your thoughts may be on local government reorganisation it has brought together the three councils of Barrow, Lancaster and South Lakeland 'like nothing before', says Lawrence Conway.
Being ready for change is critical
Local government reorganisation is on the near horizon, says Lawrence Conway. He believes South Lakeland DC 'will be well placed to provide a flexible way of working whatever the outcome of this latest round of deliberations'.
The strain caused by COVID is starting to show
Lawrence Conway says the continued variations to coronavirus measures introduced by Government 'mean we have to be agile, flexible and quite often we must use our own local leadership and innovations to best implement and serve our communities'.
Moving forward in a time of unprecedented demand
Lawrence Conway says confidence building, hope and support, and visionary and purposeful local leadership are needed ‘as we move forward to build a better world now and for future generations’.
Start devolution plans with a vision and purpose to unite
On plans for devolution, care should be taken not to start with structures and short- term initiatives, as important as they are, says Lawrence Conway. A future filled with hope, confidence and prosperity for the whole nation must surely be the entry point, he adds.
Districts are agile, responsive and efficient in the face of adversity
District councils have been working hard, along with public sector colleagues, to ensure the national response to the current emergency is having the desired effect of saving lives and protecting our communities, says Lawrence Conway.
We won't let our citizens down
Lawrence Conway says South Lakeland DC is 'asking our teams to be flexible about how they work and respond positively to the changes we are making - we will do this with our partners, and support our communities in any way we can'.
Have we moved much in the past decade?
Lawrence Conway reviews some of the key themes that were crucial to districts during the past 10 years - and to look ahead to the next 10.
Making the most of our cultural assets
The three councils of Lancaster City, Barrow and South Lakeland are coming together to pilot a new model that 'aims to capture and maximise our individual and collective cultural assets', says Lawrence Conway.
We're now a better organisation
Lawrence Conway says Lakeland DC's transformation programme Customer Connect has resulted in a better organisation, 'with a future and vision we all share and all work towards'.
It's time for us all to grasp the complexities of local places
Lawrence Conway says that as we travel to an unknown point in time for our economy, our role as place shapers and leaders in our communities will be some of the essential ingredients in how successful our future will be as a district council.
Learning from the special relationship
Reflecting on insights from the USA, Lawrence Conway says there are key elements we need to address in the UK if we want to keep pace with the changing needs of society and business.
A simple and effective local approach to the climate emergency
South Lakeland DC has recently adopted a climate change policy - and it's on one page, says Lawrence Conway. The focus is on simple, effective actions.
It's time for coherent joined up policies
Lawrence Conway has one thing to ask following the Brexit outcome - and that's for a look at how national policy is put together and joined up.
Corporate memory: A valuable and scarce resource
Short term planning seems to prevail at present, says Lawrence Conway. But he believes district councils will continue to play their part in ensuring their collective knowledge informs long term plans for local communities' prosperity.
Communities need the place-shaping we excel at
Local government hasn't lost its mojo, says Lawrence Conway. Now must be the time when its role is given the recognition and responsibility to help drive the long term plan.
Where's the debate over business rates?
We haven’t any money, announces local government. Absolute tosh, pronounces ministerial department spokesman – you have £200bn a year to spend. Lawrence Conway wonders where we are on business rates.