Daniel Goodwin

Ten New Year challenges for local government

Ruminating over the year to come over the past few days I have been thinking about the range of challenges that local government faces in 2012. I was hesitating at turning this into a blog entry, but a number of contributions from others, and especially Anna Turley’s five hopes for local government, have prompted me to do so. For although Anna’s contribution comes from a particular political hue, and mine do not, I think that it her optimism is interesting and correct.

So I would like to add my own particular slant on this from my own perspective and suggest my top ten challenges for the sector, and most particularly for officer colleagues:

  1. Support the council’s role as a political entity with democratic legitimacy
  2. Enable the community to make itself heard and help politicians to voice local issues and concerns
  3. Engage with political leaders, in the executive and opposition and listen carefully to their perspectives
  4. Work ever harder to align policy priorities, budget and performance review
  5. Develop and support your people’s skills and effectiveness (and your own) through your workforce strategy
  6. Understand the vulnerable and those at greatest risk and work with them to address underlying need
  7. Use the distinctiveness of place as a sword and a shield to help the area develop
  8. Build outward linkages with local and national partners and don’t allow pressure to drive you to look only inward
  9. Promote good scrutiny and use it with partners to help them engage effectively
  10. Ensure that there is time to enjoy the job, and your home life because that’s what makes you creative

There are undoubtedly tens more, but these are at the core of my thoughts at present. They are general and apply to a range of current issues from addressing the implications of the Localism Act, to ensuring that the forthcoming Public Health changes are meaningful locally. They are rooted in my belief that the sector certainly needs to communicate its value more effectively to the public, and definitely needs to keep up a process of renewal and change, but does not need to be defensive or downbeat about what it contributes to the national picture.

Happy New Year all.


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This entry was posted on January 3, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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