A commentary on Theresa May’s inbox as parliament’s summer recess draws to a close
Today’s Brexit news: ‘Arbitrary’ European funding deadline criticised
Today’s new risk: Chiefs warned pay spine review will bring ‘additional cost’
Today’s top comment: ‘We must continue Harold Bodmer’s work and legacy’
Today’s meeting at Chequers follows reports of tensions in government over how to handle the UK’s exit from the European Union.
As the summer recess draws to a close the huge challenge of managing the slow and complex process will preoccupy many a mind in Whitehall.
But there are pressing issues in health and social care that require urgent attention and cannot afford to be lost in the uncertainty and likely conflicts resulting from the vote in June.
The prime minister has today reasserted her commitment to a government that works for everyone but there is no evidence so far that the government will heed stark warnings over the future of the adult social care system.
A ministerial downgrade at the department of health did not bode well for the immediate and significant intervention many in the sector insist is needed.
While it has been argued that integration of health and social care services under sustainability and transformation plans are not necessarily a way to make savings, demand pressures on council and NHS services mean the need for joint working has never been greater.
But there have been a number of warning signs over the STP process in recent weeks, with concern over a lack of transparency, councils continuing to be ignored and possible legal storm clouds gathering over planned service closures.
Meanwhile, the Labour group at the Local Government Association has taken over negotiations with government on education at a time when councils’ role in schools continues to be questioned.
The government is expected to announce an end to the ban on new grammar schools, while a government review announced by Nicky Morgan on the eve of her departure from cabinet is now expected to pick up pace after a slow start.
Few would argue that there should be many more important priorities than giving children the best possible start in life.
But under the previous cabinet the government appeared to have already lost trust in councils to raise and maintain standards in schools.
While Brexit will continue to loom large over politics for the foreseeable future, central government cannot afford to let other policy areas drag in its wake.