I thought this was interesting;
In all, the report says, such precautionary measures would halve the ill-effects of the moderate amount of warming that might be expected if governments took urgent steps to reduce emissions (at higher temperatures such adaptation will be much harder if not impossible). But so far little is being done. It found that only seven per cent of local authorities had plans to cope with climate change – and none had begun to implement them…
Which would be a wholly unsurprising criticism, were it not from The Daily Telegraph. A great newspaper with excellent UK news coverage and probably the best sports section of any broadsheet, if a little bit eccentric in its choice of columnists, commentators and, occasionally, owners. Not, however, noted for being entirely supportive when local authorities engage staff to work on planning for, and mitigating, the effects of climate change.
Did I blink? I think I may have missed something. On May 26th, the Government announced the scale of in-year budget cuts facing local government, and said they would be consulting Councils on which funding streams should be axed to achieve those cuts. Since then, I have been on the lookout for the form and scope of this consultation thinking, perhaps, we’d want to respond to it. A Treasury source told the LGC “DCLG will be leading the exercise but with the reductions to come this year, we would expect it to be a short exercise.”
So short, in fact, that I haven’t spotted it – but it must have happened while I was out to lunch or something, because the results (or, at least, the funding streams to be cut) were announced earlier today. I mean really. How are the Government going to pretend they’re listening to us if we don’t even get a chance to say something in the first place. I suppose if this becomes the pattern there’s a chance I might get a quiet life. Or a redundancy notice.
Of a kind, anyway. Down in Plymouth, this.
A row has broken out over whether a Plymouth street should be named after former Labour party leader and city MP Michael Foot… Conservative cabinet member Ian Bowyer said it was “overtly political”. Mr Bowyer said he had nothing personal against Mr Foot, who was born in Plymouth. He said: “In the current climate, with unease about politicians, I believe it is not the right time. “However illustrious the name, it is overtly political. It could have been Winston Churchill as far as I was concerned.”
It wouldn’t happen in Portsmouth.
Something going on today, apparently. No idea what, but it’s resulted more in peace and quiet for me than I had feared. Now, it may be that other people work under far higher pressure and so inevitably make mistakes. Nonetheless, if I were doing the press for a £125m deal, I’d check the name of my client.
Unless there’s a US local authority I don’t know about, then there’s no such entity as “Norwich County Council”. There certainly isn’t one in the UK. There’s a Norwich City Council, and there’s a Norfolk County Council. Indeed the difference is somewhat politically sensitive at the present time.
Yet every news report about today’s Connaught deal, from the FT to Reuters to Investors’ Chronicle says that they have signed a deal with just such a body. In fairness to them, it may be a rogue news wire rather than their release, but it’s an odd mistake to introduce.
I probably need to get out more.
I could, and might yet, say all sorts about this document. One particular little bullet point hidden away on page 44 caught my eye, though.
163. This raises the question of whether sub-regional structures are sufficiently visible and accountable to citizens. If they are to be granted significant powers and responsibilities, it is vital that local people are able to understand and be involved in the arrangements that are in place to manage activity and make decisions at this level.
164. Any new proposals will need to fit with the ideas set out in the first chapter of this consultation of local residents understanding of where they can hold local services in an area to account. We also wish to raise the question of whether citizens should be more directly involved in electing representatives to structures at this level, if significant additional powers, as was the case with London, are to be granted. Any reforms in this area would of course require public support. Whilst the government’s policy on mayoral governance at local authority level remains as outlined early in chapter 2, we are interested to hear views on other possible options including:
• establishing ‘city-region leaders’ – existing sub-regional partnerships could elect, from among their members, a single leader who would be a figurehead for the partnership. This would not lead to more powers but would provide greater visibility for the work of the partnership to citizens
• creating new sub-regional local authorities – rather than current and planned sub-regional bodies, which are limited to specific issues such as economic development and transport, new sub-regional local authorities could be established with a much wider range of powers. Any direct elections to these authorities would lead to greater engagement with the sub-regional level but there would need to be a clear division of responsibilities between the new and existing tiers, and scrutiny could be complex
• mayors for city- and sub-regions – executive mayors with powers over strategic issues could be created for city- or other sub-regional areas and be directly elected by the population. This would provide strong accountability but there would again need to be a clear division of responsibilities. The role of existing local authorities would be reduced, although they could scrutinise the activity of the mayor
• a combination of a directly elected executive mayor and directly elected subregional scrutiny body – this is similar to the model of the mayor and assembly established in London. The mayor would have executive power, potentially over a wide range of issues, and would be held to account by a body of people directly elected by citizens for that purpose.
I’m certainly not asking anyone to do this – apart from anything else getting recognition seems to be a fast route to losing anonymity for bloggers of my ilk. I do, though, think it’s a good thing in principle – more to raise the profile of different blogs than to rank one over another – and a reader has already been in touch to say they have voted for me, so:
Vote by e-mail to email@example.com. Vote for ten, in order, no more, no fewer. Sadly the rules forbid me from telling you how I plan to cast my own vote, lest I seem to be running some sort of unofficial slate. Being anonymous I could even vote for myself, but I shall rise above such petty temptations.
Despite some apparent confusion, you don’t have to be a blogger yourself to vote. Anyway there we are, in the tradition of all good election campaigning, vote how you want, but do vote. 🙂
Oh look, an automated graphic smiling face rather than just text – that reminds me, and indeed much more importantly: I forgot in my review of LGA Conference to mention what was clearly the best thing at the exhibition. I want one.
Well there we are, early yesterday evening I made a post criticising Dundee City Council. At 6pm the Council met, and by 7pm the Cabinet had been removed from office and a new administration installed.
I think they’re still doing the silly thing, though!