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News review - 11 March 2010

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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.

POLITICS

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

FINANCE

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.

MANAGEMENT

Scottish chiefs agree pay freeze - LGCplus report

Audit Commission calls for data improvement - LGCplus report

LEGAL

EU probes council parking scheme - LGCplus report

Colman charged over indecent images - LGCplus report

SOCIAL SERVICES

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

EDUCATION

Pupil premium ‘unlikely to help disadvantaged’ - LGCplus report

Bursar plan as part of £500m education cuts - LGCplus report

More BSF councils announced - LGCplus report

COMMUNITY

‘Sarah’s Law’ to be rolled out after pilot scheme - LGCplus report

HOUSING

Call to criminalise unlawful subletting - LGCplus report

Help for moving social housing tenants - LGCplus report

Second round of Kickstart funding announced - Inside Housing report

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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

ENVIRONMENT

Bristol to trial waste cash incentives - LGCplus report

NAO questions DEFRA waste programme - LGCplus report

LGA welcomes ‘green loans’ - LGCplus report

 

 

 

 

 

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