Tony Kirkham

Tony Kirkham

  • All I want for Christmas

    24 November 2020

    As an early Christmas present Tony Kirkham would like 'a clear and positive Comprehensive Spending Review which adequately reflects the demands on local government'. And he would like 'a local government settlement that allows us to meet the needs of our residents and businesses'.


  • Remove the ring fences

    13 October 2020

    Councils are prevented from focusing on key priorities due to ringfences or restrictions on things such as the housing revenue account, says Tony Kirkham. If these were eased temporarily, councils could act in a more agile way, he adds.


  • Blood out of stone

    02 September 2020

    Opportunities to drive out further efficiencies from councils lie in prevention and integration, but 'will take time and investment and is unlikely to deliver any benefits until the back end of the Spending Review at the earliest', says Tony Kirkham.


  • Most councils will find a way to balance their books

    21 July 2020

    What the sector will be announcing in the coming months are cuts to spending plans, says Tony Kirkham - meaning reduced services and jobs at the time when they should be supporting people and businesses.


  • Please sir, I want some more

    09 June 2020

    After suffering starvation for three months with his companions, Oliver Twist said: ‘Please sir, I want some more.’ Likewise, as a sector, local government must continue to ask for more, says Tony Kirkham.


  • Our first responsibility is to be a good ancestor

    20 May 2020

    We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with Government and trust that the original commitment to ensuring councils have ‘whatever it takes’ will stand, says Tony Kirkham.


  • The show must go on

    29 April 2020

    Tony Kirkham says that without the full backing of Government, and the surety that the money needed for the pandemic emergency will be there, 'then we will have to realign our decisions and actions within the financial restraints'.


  • God is in the detail

    18 March 2020

    Tony Kirkham says if councils can approach the challenges of COVID-19 with the spirit and professionalism they are renowned for, the sector can move into the detailed analysis to deliver a Spending Review that benefits citizens in the medium-term.


  • The positive process of peer review

    06 February 2020

    Tony Kirkham recently took part in a Local Government Association peer review. He says the process was intensive and hard work - but he 'enjoyed every minute'.


  • Friday the 13th

    04 December 2019

    Friday the 13th is usually seen as an unlucky day, says Tony Kirkham - but he hopes the next one is 'the first step on a safe transition, starting with a budget settlement which leads to a sustainable future for local government'.


  • Investment is at risk from borrowing hike

    23 October 2019

    Increasing the interest rate on borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board puts much-needed investment at risk and to do it without consultation doesn't say much for the relationship between local government and the Treasury, says Tony Kirkham.


  • What's the demand for children's social care?

    11 September 2019

    In the North-East there has been a 55.7% growth in the average number of looked after children per 10,000 between 2009 and 2018. Tony Kirkham says the biggest single driver of demand would seem to be Universal Credit.


  • A stitch in time

    24 July 2019

    English cities are trying to deal with the impact of austerity, says Tony Kirkham. But he concludes that 'applying the old proverb "a stitch in time, saves nine" may prove wise and extremely valuable'.


  • The art of budgeting

    12 June 2019

    We need to know what extra money we are going to get in the Spending Review, not just a continuation of funding streams such as the Improved Better Care Fund (IBCF), says Tony Kirkham.


  • How much is enough?

    30 April 2019

    If the inquiry into local government funding can establish councils need funding not only to meet their statutory requirements but also to meet the needs of their residents this could be a major step forward, argues Tony Kirkham


  • Our invaluable work needs to be better understood by the Government

    13 March 2019

    We need to call on those in power to better understand the invaluable work we do in local government and help us deliver creativity without uncertainty, says Tony Kirkham


  • By no means fair enough

    06 February 2019

    Tony Kirkham is concerned that the desire to deliver fair funding could end up being something we started but couldn't finish.


  • Pressing on with spending plans despite uncertainty

    04 December 2018

    Newcastle City Council has just launched its medium-term plan for consultation, says Tony Kirkham. Waiting for stability seems even more risky, he adds.


  • Scrapping the HRA borrowing cap is not enough

    24 October 2018

    The Society of Municipal Treasurers welcomed the Government’s announcement that the borrowing cap on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) would be scrapped, but Tony Kirkham says on its own it will not be the 'game-changer'.


  • Telling the truthful story of local government finance

    04 September 2018

    Our ability to communicate in different ways with residents is something we are aware of but in today’s financial climate we don’t seek to enrich our conversations with customers, writes Tony Kirkham.