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COUNCILS AND THE GOVERNMENT - A NEW PARTNERSHIP

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Councils can play a major role in helping the government deliver its five key pledges - and a new publication from ...
Councils can play a major role in helping the government deliver its five key pledges - and a new publication from the Local Government Information Unit shows how.

Throughout the general election campaign the new government made it clear that, among the many priorities for action, there were five which it saw as the most important:

education and achievement; community safety; health; employment and job creation; and the economy.

Partners for Action from the LGIU examines each pledge and shows:

-- the place of councils in achieving these objectives

-- what central government needs to do to support progress and underpin local achievement

-- what opportunity there is for local initiative and for making progress without waiting for a lead from central government

-- good practice and policy development that already exists

For example the document says that councils could review the present position on class sizes and work with governors, headteachers and staff to identify priority areas and prepare plans for reducing class sizes; the government could co-ordinate reducing class sizes with the abolition of nursery vouchers.

On health and community care, councils could reduce waiting times for adaptations to homes and for occupational therapy visits, simultaneously improving quality of life and hospital discharge rates; the government could release capital receipts to enable the provision of more sheltered housing and the general improvement of the housing stock, which of itself will make a big contribution to public health.

On employment and job creation, councils could integrate employment and training plans throughout their services - for example nursery and pre-school and childcare provision, apprenticeships in housing schemes and local labour schemes; the government could allow councils to support good quality employment and training through provision of local labour schemes and the ability to specify that contractors and suppliers must offer their employees training and skills development.

LGIU director Dennis Reed said: 'Councils have a key role to play. They are closest to the people who make up local communities and who will make the changes that matter. We hope this paper will stimulate councils to take up the challenge of change in these five important areas'.

-- Partners for Action costs£5 from the LGIU.

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