• A late-notice, short-term and partial settlement poses problems

    18 January 2022

    There may be a clue about why the sector only has a one-year settlement in the lack of announcements around the fair funding review, the overdue business rates reset, and the delayed levelling up White Paper, says Abdool Kara.

  • Tackling our next big governance challenge

    11 January 2022

    As the changes that need to be made to local services become more profound, we must involve a wider range of councillors in how to use information about risk. Ed Hammond explains.

  • Local audit’s perfect storm

    08 December 2021

    The chair of the Public Accounts Committee has suggested the volume of late audits means Whitehall is ‘flying blind’ on council finances. Will the situation improve any time soon and how concerned is the sector? Naomi Larsson reports.

  • ALATS can aim to cultivate an environment supportive of finance chiefs

    17 November 2021

    Tony Kirkham has taken up the reins as the new president of the Association of Local Authority Treasurers Societies (ALATS). He says that with the right conversations with chief financial officers 'we can deliver improvements'.

  • Authorities under pressure

    17 November 2021

    Fears about councils’ financial sustainability remain in the wake of the Spending Review, including concerns about the costs of reform to adult social care. Ann McGauran reports.

  • CIPFA blocks publication of failed project review

    25 October 2021

    The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has refused to publish a report assessing whether it has learnt lessons from a failed counter-fraud project.

  • Government needs to better clarify the responsibility of councils in net-zero

    14 September 2021

    A report from the County Councils' Network finds that a city-centric focus to climate funding and policies has been to the detriment of counties, says Nicola Beach.

  • Data shows the difference

    06 September 2021

    Despite all the legislation and guidance, there is still endless variation in local government, says Abdool Kara. Data helps compare the difference.

  • Mind the Gap

    31 August 2021

    Geoff Tucker at Norse explains how partnership income is easing councils’ funding gap.

  • Don’t panic! We’ll still collect your bins!

    16 August 2021

    Brian Norris and Rob Bradshaw look at communicating budgetary restraint in local government. Clarity, transparency, and a clear focus on residents’ priorities are key, they say.

  • Is funding meeting councils’ needs on decarbonationisation?

    10 August 2021

    Analysis by Nesta raises some questions about the effectiveness of competitive grant funding schemes to support local authorities’ role in home decarbonisation, says Madeleine Gabriel.

  • Johnson has flunked levelling up explanation chance, says MP

    22 July 2021

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ‘flunked’ his chance to explain what levelling up means, the chair of a parliamentary committee has claimed.

  • Who will crack care?

    20 July 2021

    The Government must raise enough funding to end the unsatisfactory adult social care system and ensure a skilled workforce is both attracted and retained, writes Sir Bob Neill.

  • Councils need more data for test and trace, says watchdog

    25 June 2021

    Local authorities’ involvement in test and trace has improved the service – but councils still need more data, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

  • NAO - jobs support must align with wider government recovery strategy

    10 June 2021

    The Department for Work and Pensions’ pandemic jobs support must align with the wider government economic recovery strategy, says the public spending watchdog.

  • Playing it long

    02 June 2021

    A Localis policy webinar on long-term local government finances indicated strategic pragmatism will be order of the day for the sector until the mid-2020s, writes Jonathan Werran.

  • Change is in the air

    19 May 2021

    In anticipation of its forthcoming report on councils and net zero, the National Audit Office asked a round table of local government experts hosted by The MJ what they were doing on climate change – and what they needed from central government.

  • The future is already here

    19 May 2021

    Success can only come from choosing our battles - and our timing - well, and working for change collaboratively across the sector, says Abdool Kara.

  • COVID crisis exposed council underfunding, says watchdog

    19 May 2021

    The COVID crisis exposed existing weaknesses in public services, including the underfunding of local government and the neglect of social care, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

  • Bucket list for fixing council finances

    08 April 2021

    Co-designing a truly sustainable finance system for councils for the long-term ‘won’t be quick and it won’t be easy’, says Martin Reeves. A few more years of ‘make do and mend’ will not work for our communities and economies, he adds.