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National research organisation LARIA (Local Authorities Research & Intelligence Association) now has members in ove...
National research organisation LARIA (Local Authorities Research & Intelligence Association) now has members in over half of all the local authorities in the UK.

But LARIA is not resting on its laurels and is seeking to boost membership even further in the coming months.

LARIA is a network for researchers within local government.

It has established itself as a key organisation in its field and provides a variety of support services for those involved in research-based planning, community information and forecasting, as well as promoting the role and practice of research in local government.

LARIA now has more than 500 individual members and 158 corporate members. This means that it has members in 53% of all local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales.

In county councils and all-purpose councils, such as unitary authorities and metropolitan boroughs, it now has 77% coverage.

LARIA's chair of external relations, Paul Vittles, said: 'Members are signing up to LARIA up and down the country because they can see the benefits from being a part of the LARIA network.

'It is also important for the organisation to be represented throughout the UK if it is to have a major influence within local government.'

LARIA is less well represented in smaller councils like the shire districts, mainly because there is greater turnover of staff in these authorities and more likelihood of there being one person responsible for consultation rather than a team of researchers.

Their job will be to liaise with regional bodies like the government offices and regional development agencies, but also to target local authorities where LARIA is not represented.

Mr Vittles added: 'LARIA will continue expanding its membership, its range of services for members and, along the way, its influence.

'Members will help to raise awareness within the regions whilst, at the same time, building closer relationships with government at the regional level.'

Anyone interested in joining LARIA or finding out more information can contact Graham Smith on (01642) 316576 or e-mail

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