LGC’s selection of this week’s must-read news items plus a comprehensive round-up of news from all local government’s service areas and disciplines.
NOTE: Click on the headlines for more on the stories.
THE WEEK’S TOP STORIES
DLCG turnover concerns MPs
The Communities and Local Government select committee warned that the high turnover of ministers and staff at the Department for Communities & Local Government had led to a skills shortage - noting that officials stayed on average for only nine months and ministers less than a year. The committee said failing to achieve an £887m target would leave a ‘very significant hole’ in the department’s plans.
Lords slam Denham over unitary plans
The House of Lords merits committee criticised the announcement of unitary councils for Exeter and Norwich. Members urged further consideration of communities and local government secretary John Denham’s use of statutory instruments after he admitted that neither unitary met the government’s published criteria. Last month, Mr Denham’s permanent secretary Peter Housden took the unusual step of insisting on a written instruction before proceeding, such was his concern about the unitaries’ value for money.
Cameron seeks council cash transparency
David Cameron pledged that pay and perks for council staff earning more than £60,000 would be made public if he wins the election. Speaking to the Conservative Councillors’ Association, Mr Cameron said the transparency package would subject senior staff to the level of scrutiny experienced by elected representatives. Councils would also be forced to disclose all expenses, tenders and contracts worth more than £500. Greater control over housing and planning would also be granted, as well as a “general power of competence”.
Tory regeneration paper postponed to post-election
The Conservatives confirmed their long-delayed regeneration green paper is unlikely to be published before the general election, according to Regeneration & Renewal magazine. Meanwhile, a letter from shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman and shadow business secretary Kenneth Clarke appeared to confirm that regional development agencies would be replaced by local enterprise partnerships, chaired by a local business person and with boards comprised of a majority of representatives from local commerce or industry.
Overnight poll count proposals eased - LGCplus report
Ex-Glasgow leader’s decisions questioned - The Scotsman report
Doncaster votes to increase council tax - LGCplus report
Commission unhappy at voter registration - LGCplus report
Black hole of £20bn forecast in UK finances - LGCplus report
Darling urged to cut spending earlier - LGCplus report
Cuts would ‘hit countryside hardest’- Regeneration and Renewal report.
Scottish chiefs agree pay freeze - LGCplus report
Audit Commission calls for data improvement - LGCplus report
EU probes council parking scheme - LGCplus report
Colman charged over indecent images - LGCplus report
Main parties sign deal on social care funding for the elderly - LGCplus report
Commission blames widening inequalities on too much advice - LGCplus report
Social work union calls for independent college - Children and Young People Now report
Low paid foster carers struggling - Children and Young People Now report
Pupil premium ‘unlikely to help disadvantaged’ - LGCplus report
Bursar plan as part of £500m education cuts - LGCplus report
More BSF councils announced - LGCplus report
‘Sarah’s Law’ to be rolled out after pilot scheme - LGCplus report
Call to criminalise unlawful subletting - LGCplus report
Help for moving social housing tenants - LGCplus report
Second round of Kickstart funding announced - Inside Housing report
Cheshire East set for closer AGMA ties - LGCplus report
Funding squeeze could hit New Deal scheme - LGCplus report
Young people ‘driven from rural areas’ - LGCplus report
Bristol to trial waste cash incentives - LGCplus report
NAO questions DEFRA waste programme - LGCplus report
LGA welcomes ‘green loans’ - LGCplus report