Given all this energy and activity, it is surprising how little councils can glean of what is going to happen to their grant.
The education review has been going the longest and has the widest range of consultees involved. The overall structure of the education formula is clear in principle, but so it was over a year ago. We believe the civil servants have a detailed model, but it is being kept secret at present.
Other areas are struggling to get their options to market in time for the reports. It is clear there will be a change to the area cost adjustment. Some general labour-market approach, based on the Elliott report, now seems favourite for most areas.
Will authorities be able to plan for the next three years once the consultation report and spending review 2002 are published? Well, no. Ministers apparently think it would be too controversial to consult on the level of grant that local authorities might actually receive in 2003/4.
The brave new fair system will spring, fully formed, from civil servants' computers at the end of November. Only then will half the authorities realise that they have lost, and the other half that they have gained less than they expected. That should see it off to a good start.
Finance director, Brent LBC