Senior local politicians will seek to formulate a shared vision for the
local government white paper with ministers at next week's central/local partnership talks.
The meeting, taking place at Leeds Castle in Kent on Thursday and Friday, will focus on councils' role in improving services and local government secretary Stephen Byers' promise to deregulate local government (LGC, 12 July).
The Local Government Association is hoping ministers from a wide range of departments will attend.
LGA communications chief Phil Swann said: 'If we're going to make progress on deregulating local government, increasing local financial autonomy and establishing what local government's community leadership role means in terms of major services, departments like health, education and the Home Office need to be as involved as the DTLR.'
The white paper is expected in December.
£1m to support network's role
Ministers have announced£1m funding this year for the English Regions Network.
Local government and regions minister Nick Raynsford said the funding, which is on top of£3m previously announced, would support the network's role in helping regions work together effectively.
The money will come from the regional chambers fund - a pot of£15m spread over three years.
Mr Raynsford said: 'This additional funding allows the network to develop an innovative programme that will help regional chambers work together on a range of practical measures. This will include strengthening scrutiny responsibilities and encouraging inter-regional co-operation and the sharing of best practice.'
Britton lands cabinet post
DTLR town and country planning director Paul Britton has been appointed head of the economic and domestic affairs secretariat in the Cabinet Office.
Mr Britton joined the old Department of the Environment in 1971 as an administration trainee and has spent most of his career in and around the department. He was head of the local government finance directorate for five years, from 1991-96.
Secondment to the Cabinet Office included a stint as deputy head of the secretariat he will now head up.
Brian Briscoe, chief executive of the Local Government Association, welcomed the appointment, saying: 'We know Paul quite well - he is very able, very approachable and very combative sometimes, but good to have a conversation with. It's good to have people moving into the centre of government with some sort of local government background.'