Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Are Pickles’ pilots worth the hype? 23 December 2011 Having single-handedly almost derailed months of delicate negotiations to reform the local government pension scheme with one crassly worded letter, communities secretary Eric Pickles must have been relieved to return to the safer ground of community budgets. Confirmation that there will be four "whole place" pilot areas is another move in the right direction following the announcement that 12 major cities will be negotiating individual deals for more powers. One of the declared intentions of the pilot project is to accelerate work to reduce residents' dependency on the state, but for councils it is just as much about reducing their own dependency on central government. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Cowardice betrays social care reform 16 December 2011 There have been a clutch of reports in the last fortnight exposing the stresses in the adult care system, culminating in the revelation that the government is running away from funding reform. Two weeks ago the Audit Commission report, Joining Up Health and Social Care, claimed that over £132m was wasted each year as poor coordination between the two services led to avoidable hospital admissions, which drove up costs in the care system as well. The commission's interpretation of the data is conservative; much bigger gains are possible through preventative work to keep older people living independently. Five days later the House of Commons' public accounts committee – which is publishing hard-hitting reports with the rapidity of a machine-gun – published its investigation into competition between care home providers in the wake of the collapse of Southern Cross. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ The real impact of NHS cash squeeze 12 December 2011 Drastic reform of clinical services is the only way the NHS can avoid being overwhelmed by falls in real funding and rising demand. According to the Department of Health, this means finding £20bn (€23bn; $31bn) of productivity gains by 2015. What became known as the Nicholson challenge was first articulated in the 2008-9 annual report of NHS chief executive, David Nicholson. It was already clear that the banking crisis would trigger sharp cuts in public spending, and Sir David knew he had to get the NHS to confront the reality that it would have to make huge changes to the way it worked if it was to avoid its second financial crisis in a decade and cope with rising demand from an ageing population. Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ City powers are a rare moment of hope 9 December 2011 Local government had momentary respite from the economic gloom with the announcement by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, of the powers ministers are prepared to hand over to cities to help them drive economic growth. As anticipated, the government is to negotiate individual deals with the eight largest regional cities to cede powers on transport, regeneration, skills and economic development. The opportunity for the eight cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – to negotiate powers is enshrined in the Localism Act and is aimed squarely at driving economic growth, so many of the new freedoms would go to the local economic partnership. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Chancellor piles on more years of agony 2 December 2011 It is a measure of the darkness of the long economic night we are now in that the prospect of a further cut in local government funding as a result of the new pay squeeze was not the worst news for councils in the autumn statement. Instead, it was the prospect of at least two more years of cuts after the next general election and a realisation that, for people across the country, there is no end in sight to the reduction in funding. True, there was a little good news in the announcement of extra capital investment for schools and local transport, but that does nothing to alter the overall picture. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Councils risk sidelining in post-riot panic 25 November 2011 In the moral panic which swept the political classes after the August riots, former Bullingdon Club gang member David Cameron identified the collapse of families as the underlying cause, and promised to turn round the lives of the 120,000 "most troubled families" within the lifetime of this parliament. Gordon Brown and Tony Blair previously made grandiose promises to tackle such families, without any obvious success. The tone of the government's approach to this issue was set the previous December when the prime minister appointed social entrepreneur Emma Harrison, chairman of firm A4E, to get families off benefits and into work with her Working Families Everywhere programme. In the aftermath of the riots he appointed the then victims commissioner Louise Casey to deliver his pledge to turn lives around. She started as director-general of the troubled families team at the Department for Communities and Local Government this month. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Financial stability comes at heavy price 18 November 2011 Tough Times, the Audit Commission's assessment of the impact of council spending cuts, provides convincing evidence that local government is coping well both politically and strategically. Plans are being put together to balance budgets while protecting vital services where possible, and politicians are driving them through. Local government is certainly coping better than the NHS, which is finding it much harder to deliver a far more benign financial settlement, or the Ministry of Defence, which according to the National Audit Office has pulled off the impressive feat of driving up costs on 15 of its biggest projects by £466m through cuts in spending. But one in 10 councils are struggling to balance their books this year, and the commission ascribes this largely to poor financial management. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ May’s attack shows management perils 11 November 2011 Two incidents in the last few days have demonstrated the perils that can face senior public sector managers from their two masters – the public and politicians. The first was the cowardly and unprincipled decision of home secretary Theresa May to wreck the career of one of her senior staff by naming and blaming him for the relaxation of border controls, knowing the civil service code denied him a right of reply. He has had to resign to defend his name. The other is a campaign by the Taxpayers' Alliance to get the salary of Bath and North-east Somerset council's chief executive cut. May's decision to protect herself from the fallout over border controls by throwing Brodie Clark to the press and parliament was a shocking abuse of the relationship between a politician and a manager. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ LGA in danger of becoming a regulator 4 November 2011 The news that the Local Government Association is considering setting minimum performance standards for membership throws into relief both the role of the LGA and the monitoring and control of councils once the Audit Commission is finally abolished. According to the Local Government Chronicle, talk has been revived at the LGA of expelling councils that persist in failing to address serious problems. Last year the association's Liberal Democrat group leader, Richard Kemp, publicly called for Doncaster to be expelled from the association for failing to take up repeated offers of help. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network
November to December 2011
Richard Vize Public Policy Media Ltd
LATEST ARTICLES
CV
Are Pickles’ pilots worth the hype? 23 December 2011 Having single-handedly almost derailed months of delicate negotiations to reform the local government pension scheme with one crassly worded letter, communities secretary Eric Pickles must have been relieved to return to the safer ground of community budgets. Confirmation that there will be four "whole place" pilot areas is another move in the right direction following the announcement that 12 major cities will be negotiating individual deals for more powers. One of the declared intentions of the pilot project is to accelerate work to reduce residents' dependency on the state, but for councils it is just as much about reducing their own dependency on central government. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Cowardice betrays social care reform 16 December 2011 There have been a clutch of reports in the last fortnight exposing the stresses in the adult care system, culminating in the revelation that the government is running away from funding reform. Two weeks ago the Audit Commission report, Joining Up Health and Social Care, claimed that over £132m was wasted each year as poor coordination between the two services led to avoidable hospital admissions, which drove up costs in the care system as well. The commission's interpretation of the data is conservative; much bigger gains are possible through preventative work to keep older people living independently. Five days later the House of Commons' public accounts committee – which is publishing hard-hitting reports with the rapidity of a machine-gun – published its investigation into competition between care home providers in the wake of the collapse of Southern Cross. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ The real impact of NHS cash squeeze 12 December 2011 Drastic reform of clinical services is the only way the NHS can avoid being overwhelmed by falls in real funding and rising demand. According to the Department of Health, this means finding £20bn (€23bn; $31bn) of productivity gains by 2015. What became known as the Nicholson challenge was first articulated in the 2008-9 annual report of NHS chief executive, David Nicholson. It was already clear that the banking crisis would trigger sharp cuts in public spending, and Sir David knew he had to get the NHS to confront the reality that it would have to make huge changes to the way it worked if it was to avoid its second financial crisis in a decade and cope with rising demand from an ageing population. Read the full article at the British Medical Journal ____________________________________________________________________ City powers are a rare moment of hope 9 December 2011 Local government had momentary respite from the economic gloom with the announcement by Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, of the powers ministers are prepared to hand over to cities to help them drive economic growth. As anticipated, the government is to negotiate individual deals with the eight largest regional cities to cede powers on transport, regeneration, skills and economic development. The opportunity for the eight cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – to negotiate powers is enshrined in the Localism Act and is aimed squarely at driving economic growth, so many of the new freedoms would go to the local economic partnership. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Chancellor piles on more years of agony 2 December 2011 It is a measure of the darkness of the long economic night we are now in that the prospect of a further cut in local government funding as a result of the new pay squeeze was not the worst news for councils in the autumn statement. Instead, it was the prospect of at least two more years of cuts after the next general election and a realisation that, for people across the country, there is no end in sight to the reduction in funding. True, there was a little good news in the announcement of extra capital investment for schools and local transport, but that does nothing to alter the overall picture. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Councils risk sidelining in post- riot panic 25 November 2011 In the moral panic which swept the political classes after the August riots, former Bullingdon Club gang member David Cameron identified the collapse of families as the underlying cause, and promised to turn round the lives of the 120,000 "most troubled families" within the lifetime of this parliament. Gordon Brown and Tony Blair previously made grandiose promises to tackle such families, without any obvious success. The tone of the government's approach to this issue was set the previous December when the prime minister appointed social entrepreneur Emma Harrison, chairman of firm A4E, to get families off benefits and into work with her Working Families Everywhere programme. In the aftermath of the riots he appointed the then victims commissioner Louise Casey to deliver his pledge to turn lives around. She started as director- general of the troubled families team at the Department for Communities and Local Government this month. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ Financial stability comes at heavy price 18 November 2011 Tough Times, the Audit Commission's assessment of the impact of council spending cuts, provides convincing evidence that local government is coping well both politically and strategically. Plans are being put together to balance budgets while protecting vital services where possible, and politicians are driving them through. Local government is certainly coping better than the NHS, which is finding it much harder to deliver a far more benign financial settlement, or the Ministry of Defence, which according to the National Audit Office has pulled off the impressive feat of driving up costs on 15 of its biggest projects by £466m through cuts in spending. But one in 10 councils are struggling to balance their books this year, and the commission ascribes this largely to poor financial management. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ May’s attack shows management perils 11 November 2011 Two incidents in the last few days have demonstrated the perils that can face senior public sector managers from their two masters – the public and politicians. The first was the cowardly and unprincipled decision of home secretary Theresa May to wreck the career of one of her senior staff by naming and blaming him for the relaxation of border controls, knowing the civil service code denied him a right of reply. He has had to resign to defend his name. The other is a campaign by the Taxpayers' Alliance to get the salary of Bath and North-east Somerset council's chief executive cut. May's decision to protect herself from the fallout over border controls by throwing Brodie Clark to the press and parliament was a shocking abuse of the relationship between a politician and a manager. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network ____________________________________________________________________ LGA in danger of becoming a regulator 4 November 2011 The news that the Local Government Association is considering setting minimum performance standards for membership throws into relief both the role of the LGA and the monitoring and control of councils once the Audit Commission is finally abolished. According to the Local Government Chronicle, talk has been revived at the LGA of expelling councils that persist in failing to address serious problems. Last year the association's Liberal Democrat group leader, Richard Kemp, publicly called for Doncaster to be expelled from the association for failing to take up repeated offers of help. Read the full article on the Guardian local government network