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Local service delivery joins pre-election agenda

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LGC brought together Communities Secretary John Denham and some of the sector’s most influential voices to look at the road ahead for local democracy

Mr Denham’s recent attack in his RSA speech on Barnet LBC’s so-called ‘easyBorough’ plans to revamp service delivery show how local government is being drawn into the wider pre-election political debate.

Chaired by editor Emma Maier, our panelists discussed the future of localism, ways the Total Place initiative can be turned to practical use, and the extent to which Westminster is the root of most evil.

Less than six months away from a general election, it is no surprise to hear John Denham drawing battle lines between government and opposition, and pondering the possibilities of advancing Total Place.

New Local Government Network director Chris Leslie shares Mr Denham’s enthusiasm, but wonders how real collaboration between local public services can be fostered.

Meanwhile, LGC columnist and director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics Tony Travers argues that allowing a few councils to experiment with funding would be one way to test its potential.

And RSA chief executive and former No 10 policy unit director Matthew Taylor speaks in favour of greater local powers. But he warns that local government will need to earn a greater degree of public trust if it is to assume the required level of stewardship.

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