England’s over-centralisation – Part 2: It IS instinctive

There was much in Jessica Studdert’s recent post on this blog to agree with and applaud, but one sentence particularly struck me – the one opening her fourth paragraph: “The centralised response isn’t just structural, at times it has felt deeply instinctive.” So, equally instinctively, I did what even an erstwhile academic does during a lockdown – some heavyweight research, naturally.

England’s over-centralisation – Part 2: It IS instinctive

There was much in Jessica Studdert’s recent post on this blog to agree with and applaud, but one sentence particularly struck me – the one opening her fourth paragraph: “The centralised response isn’t just structural, at times it has felt deeply instinctive.” So, equally instinctively, I did what even an erstwhile academic does during a lockdown – some heavyweight research, naturally.

England’s over-centralisation isn’t just a governance issue now – it’s a public health emergency

The concentration of power at Westminster and Whitehall has long frustrated those of us who engage closely with the structures of governance and compare it to decentralised norms across much of Europe. Now, as with so many facets of the Covid-19 crisis, the pandemic has exposed national vulnerabilities and left us grappling with the consequences. The grip on initiative that rests in SW1 is one such weakness, which is impacting how our system is responding to the virus, in turn perpetuating the public health emergency we find ourselves in.

Councils Can…

Working in a partnership role in a District Council has its challenges at the best of times, but working in a partnership role, from home, with kids and studying, in the midst of a crisis makes it all the more challenging. The work/life balance that we strive for is now melded together for the foreseeable future.

Strategic planning that works—evidence from the European public sector

Just over twenty years ago when I was observing experiments in the use of strategic planning and community planning in English local government I often wondered if it would prove to be a temporary management fad. There were at the time efforts by councils like Bradford Council to carry out planning with partners from all sectors. I saw councils like Ipswich Council trying to do community strategic planning and trying to engage and involve local people. There was leadership from councillors and officers at the tops of councils. I was really impressed at the time with their drive to innovate and serve the public better and often to use strategic planning as a tool to do this. But would enthusiasm for it last ten years?

A local councillor’s reflection on the coronavirus crisis

I want to share something very important with you: for me the coronavirus crisis has been the most difficult period I have experienced as an elected member. I have lost loved ones, felt the distress in local communities and experienced the dislocation in people’s lives as children no longer attend school, workplaces shut and voluntary organisations suspend many of their vital services. So, this is a personal view and reflection on the crisis to date.