• Getting public infrastructure back on track

    18 June 2024

    We have reached a critical juncture for public infrastructure, says Mark Robinson. Accelerated procurement through public -private collaboration is what’s needed, he believes.

  • Auditors add to council biometric warnings

    20 May 2024

    A spending watchdog has echoed councils’ concerns that biometric entry requirements at UK ports could lead to freight delays and gridlock on major roads.

  • Gauging the benefit of productivity plans

    30 April 2024

    At the least the new Government requirement for productivity plans will give a platform for authorities to show to their residents, and central government, all they have achieved through improving their efficiency and effectiveness, says Abdool Kara.

  • NAO warning over childcare reforms

    23 April 2024

    Just one in 10 councils predict they will meet the deadline to create 85,000 Government-funded childcare places by autumn 2025, spending watchdogs have warned.

  • 41st time lucky?

    22 April 2024

    After four decades of different initiatives which have failed to boost growth, Professor Martin Jones considers what needs to change to bring success.

  • Hopes for regen scheme revived after Home Office scales back asylum plan

    20 March 2024

    A £300m council-led regeneration scheme threatened when Whitehall commandeered the site for asylum accommodation could now go ahead after the plan was scaled down.

  • Homelessness inquiry launched by NAO

    13 March 2024

    The National Audit Office (NAO) has launched an inquiry into homelessness as the issue piles pressure on squeezed council budgets.

  • Time for change: An early review for the Code of Audit Practice

    13 February 2024

    Change is needed now to resolve the broader problems in the local audit market, and together with other organisations, the NAO has produced new proposals for a reset, says Mike Newbury.

  • Tackling homelessness

    05 February 2024

    Homelessness is piling pressure on squeezed council budgets. The MJ and the National Audit Office teamed up to bring council chief executives and senior managers together in Manchester to get under the skin of the issue. Paul Marinko reports.

  • NAO issues wake-up call

    17 January 2024

    The National Audit Office (NAO) chief’s warnings to Whitehall over governance are a wake-up call for councils too, the watchdog’s executive director Abdool Kara has said.

  • Radical overhaul required to drag us into the 21st century

    17 January 2024

    From central government and the NHS, to police, prisons and local government: the ‘state of the state’ is dire, says Heather Jameson. 'There are few quick fixes, but propping up the status quo is not an option.'

  • Audit reset to trigger slew of qualified and disclaimed opinions

    10 January 2024

    The auditor general has warned of qualified and disclaimed audits being issued ahead of a reset to take place later this year.

  • Don't hold your breath for immediate funding salvation

    08 January 2024

    Like Liam Byrne’s 2010 note to his successor suggesting there was no money left, an incoming government will have little room for budgetary manoeuvre if it sticks to its declared fiscal rules, says Abdool Kara.

  • Fewer than 100 homes for refugees are occupied

    23 November 2023

    Fewer than 100 homes acquired using a fund to support English councils obtain housing for those fleeing conflicts have been occupied, according to the latest figures.

  • A call for clarity on Oflog

    20 November 2023

    The Office for Local Government has sparked a flurry of passionate views within the sector. Stuart Hoddinott calls for clarity over how it will balance a more interventionist approach alongside a role as a ‘good faith convenor’ of councils.

  • Levelling up ambitions blighted by delays, says NAO

    16 November 2023

    Ministers’ levelling up ambitions have been blighted by delays to key construction projects, with many deadlines unlikely to be met, the UK’s spending watchdog has warned.

  • Too many cuts could drain councils of their services

    15 November 2023

    Heather Jameson says: ‘The question for ministers is not just ‘which councils face financial collapse’? It is also ‘which councils have cut so much that local services will suffer?’

  • Department's financial views questioned

    14 November 2023

    Levelling up civil servants have told council chiefs financial pressures have eased but watchdogs have warned other Whitehall departments may be driving local government’s costs.

  • How about an updated version of Total Place

    23 October 2023

    Abdool Kara says Total Place 'remains to many an idea that has the potential to square the circle of improved outcomes at less cost at a time where there are few other solutions presenting themselves'.

  • NAO calls for Homes for Ukraine clarity

    16 October 2023

    Ministers must prioritise ‘important decisions’ over Homes for Ukraine – including continued funding for councils, spending watchdogs have urged.