News

2% referendum threshold but welfare fund axed

2% referendum threshold but welfare fund axed

Local authorities will be allowed to raise council tax by up to 2% in 2015/16, local government minister Kris Hopkins announced today.

Finance chiefs dispute government funding figures

Local government finance directors have calculated council spending power will fall by 6% following the finance settlement – more than three times the 1.8% the government has claimed.

Finance settlement: Reaction

Local government reaction to the finance settlement, which was announced today.

Improvement cash could be up for grabs

The budget for improvement services could be opened up to the private sector, as exclusively revealed by The MJ, communities secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed.

Spending settlement red alert

CLG chair issues sharp warning to ministers over perceived complacency amid an uncertain future for councils.

Pickles announces ex-council chief Caller as Tower Hamlets commissioner

Former council chief executive Max Caller has been announced as one of the commissioners who will be sent in to Tower Hamlets LBC.

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Opinion

After the finance settlement we are still in the dark on cuts

2% referendum threshold but welfare fund axed

The local government finance settlement has shed light on the amount of money the sector will get in the next financial year – hasn’t it?

Amid the cuts, let’s toast to local devolved government in 2015

And so we reach the end of the year and, despite the predictions of Armageddon that have characterised the past few years, 2014 has had its ups as well as its downs.

How to be a community councillor

Greater devolution and decentralisation to local government will require strong, effective, responsive listening and above all, accountable community councillors who are trusted by their electors, writes John Tizard.

How much should chief officers be paid?

To the question ‘how much should chief officers be paid’ the response is another question, namely, ‘how long is a piece of string?’

Not a matter of naughty or nice

Abdool Kara advises the next set of local government ministers to ensure they focus on the achievement of outcomes, and not the elimination of institutions.

More change to come in 2015

The last year has seen another significant period of change in local authority administration, with the prolonged impact of the welfare reforms and the digital by default agenda both putting new pressures on back office teams, writes John Wybrant.

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Best Practice

Putting health at the heart of your team

Putting health at the heart of your team

Hertfordshire CC has come to the aid of its employees with a wellbeing programme designed to encourage people to become more active. Joanna Brown expounds on how the project is shaping up.

Analysis

Choices remain on how to balance the books

Choices remain on how to balance the books

Each political party’s borrowing requirement would see the books balanced in the next Parliament, but there remains a set of substantive choices, with significant implications for local government budgets, writes John Healey.

Private sector

Work smarter - not harder

By April 2015, local authorities within the UK will have faced and be expected to resolve yet more cost reduction, adsorb more budget reduction yet be under greater pressure than ever to provide increasing results, writes Pitney Bowes' Steve Hanks.

Kier enters £400m deal with Staffs CC

Kier looks set to form a £400m property services joint venture with Staffordshire CC and the county’s police and crime commissioner.

Airport windfall will boost councils’ coffers by £11m

The leader of Manchester City Council has pledged to use a £11m windfall from the Manchester Airport Group to offset the impact of spending cuts.