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News review - 18 February 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

Chief question overnight poll count move
Chief executives expressed “serious doubts” about a government commitment to require votes at the next general election to be counted overnight. The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers said it was “very worrying” if the rules were to be changed at short notice. An amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill on overnight counts passed unopposed after Justice secretary Jack Straw backed a campaign to start counts within four hours of polls closing.

Tories ‘wrecked’ care consensus
Business secretary Lord Mandelson accused David Cameron of “driving a wrecking ball” through efforts to reach a consensus on adult social care. His accusation came as the Conservatives launched a campaign against alleged Labour plans to meet the costs of social care for the elderly through a £20,000 ‘death tax’. Social care directors and charities condemned the collapse of cross-party talks on the issue.

Tories pledge public sector co-ops
Shadow chancellor George Osborne renewed a pledge to give public sector workers the chance to form co-operatives to run services. Mr Osborne hailed the policy as the biggest shift of power to workers since Margaret Thatcher introduced the right to buy council houses in the 1980s. He said the right to form employee co-operatives would extend from JobCentre Plus offices and community nursing teams to primary schools and housing trusts run by local people.

Audit Commission slams data on ageing
A report from the Audit Commission found fewer than one council in 10 had adequate data on the effects the ageing population will have on their area. The watchdog said the lack of understanding could mean councils miss out on savings that preventative services and partnership working could offer. Commission chair Michael O’Higgins said that out of 112 authorities questioned, just 11 had good medium-term strategies in place to cope with demographic changes.

 

POLITICS

Councils’ concern at free home care plans - LGCplus report

Budget row hits poll plans - LGCplus report

Leicester leader to go - LGCplus report

  • The Welsh Assembly voted by 53-0 for a referendum on gaining additional powers from the Westminster parliament - LGCplus report
  • A group of economists gave their endorsement to the Conservatives’ plans to start cutting the fiscal deficit immediately after the general election - Sunday Times report

FINANCE

Plans to ditch Census floated - LGCplus report

Cameron pledge on contract transparency - LGCplus report

  • Gillian Body was named as the interim auditor general for Wales following the resignation of Jeremy Colman after he was allegedly found to have indecent images on his work computer - LGCplus report

MANAGEMENT

Birmingham set to shed 2,000 jobs - LGCplus report

Union claims equal pay victory
Unison claimed victory in an equal pay case against Sheffield City Council after the Court of Appeal backed its claim that productivity bonuses of up to 38% paid to male staff discriminated against women doing comparable jobs.

One third of public sector expects job cuts - LGCplus report

  • Glasgow City Council revealed it would lobby ministers to introduce a living wage for all public sector workers - Scotsman report

LEGAL

Oldham considers fraud costs challenge - LGCplus report

SOCIAL SERVICES

Wirral wins ‘delayed’ negligent care claim - LGCplus report

  • Up to 800 jobs could be put at risk by plans for the restructuring of local centres by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - Guardian report

EDUCATION

Councils to draw up vision for schools projects - LGCplus report

COMMUNITY

Lap-dancing club controls hailed by LGA - LGCplus report

TECHNOLOGY

Socitm disappointed by ICT strategy - LGCplus report

Kent two switch off TV channel - LGCplus report

Digital spring clean for city streets - LGCplus report

HOUSING

Healey dismisses calls for repossession apology - LGCplus report

Home repossessions show decline - LGCplus report

HCA launches second skills survey - LGCplus report

PLANNING

Healey announces changes to levy - LGCplus report

Shadow local government and planning minister Bob Neill said that travellers who refuse to leave illegal and unauthorised camps would face arrest under a future Conservative government - LGCplus report

Leader referred to Standards Board - LGCplus report

Pitt calls for funding for IPC burden - report planningresource.co.uk

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Warning over Olympics legacy - LGCplus report

Regeneration company was poor value, inspectors say - LGCplus report

Boat operators back canal proposals - LGCplus report

Regeneration programme boosts satisfaction - report regen.net

TRANSPORT

MPs condemn failure to invest in local rail - LGCplus report

ENVIRONMENT

Treasury to repay £300m in landfill tax receipts - reports Materials and Recycling Weekly

Consultation launched on impact of demographic changes - LGCplus report

Agency outlines flood defence plans - LGCplus report

Scots recycling rate up by 3% - LGCplus report

PEOPLE

Staff asked for say over new chief executive - LGCplus report

Pay undecided for Bundred successor - LGCplus report

Troubleshooter Roots reviews crisis council - LGCplus report

 

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