It makes good sense to diversify income
Some of the commentary on commerciality implies councils are going into these investments recklessly, and that is simply not the case, says Simone Hines. Continuing to be creative and innovative with council finances is going to be vital, she adds.
The COVID review is yet to come
The NAO is being careful not to compromise the emergency response to COVID-19, but there will be a review to come, says Abdool Kara
Government to review commercial investment data
The Government will review the data it collects on commercial investments by councils after it was accused of ‘flying blind’ by a senior MP.
Treasury criticised for 'attack' on council sovereignty
A Treasury crackdown on local authorities using cheap finance to buy commercial property for rental income is an ‘attack on the sovereignty of councils,’ a senior councillor has said.
Warning over coronavirus and commercial investment cocktail
Worried finance chiefs have warned some councils that invested in commercial property have been put at increased risk by the coronavirus pandemic.
Shielding improvements on agenda for LGA and Whitehall
The Local Government Association is working with Whitehall to improve the support system for the more than two million people being shielded from coronavirus.
MPs tell department to 'get a grip' on SEND
The Department for Education (DfE) does not have a grip on mounting pressure in the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system, a watchdog has found.
MHCLG to step up direct engagement with councils
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is to step up its direct engagement with councils to better understand their challenges.
SEND system 'not working as well as it should' - top civil servant
The reformed system for supporting children with special and educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is ‘not working as well as it should,’ senior civil servants have admitted.
Hillier calls for freedom of information extension
House of Commons Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier has called for the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act to be applied to contractors running public services.
Delayed audit council names kept under wraps
The 150 councils where auditors were unable to issue an opinion by the end of September are expected to escape being named and shamed.
£5.2bn and counting
The Local Government Association (LGA) will argue the sector faces a £5.2bn funding gap in 2020/21 despite believing the figure is an underestimate, The MJ understands.
Learning lessons from LEPs
Aileen Murphie examines the role, progress and development of local enterprise partnerships from the eyes of the National Audit Office.
Cash to be held back from LEPs unless stalemate broken
Boris Johnson’s new ministers will be tasked with ending the stalemate on overlapping local enterprise partnerships (LEP) after a crunch meeting failed to secure a breakthrough.
PAC: Government should intervene over local plans
The Government should use its ‘powers to intervene’ to ensure councils without local plans make them an urgent priority.
Cost of cladding replacement fund could rise to £330m
The cost of removing and replacing unsafe cladding on privately owned high-rise buildings could rise to as much as £330m, it has emerged.
Dawes: Ministry could have done more responding to Grenfell
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) top official has admitted the department ‘could have done more’ in response to the Grenfell Tower fire.
Dawes renews commercialisation warnings
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) top civil servant has renewed warnings about tougher Whitehall action to prevent risky commercial ventures by councils.
Council governance systems ‘inadequate’ for austerity era
The Government has not done enough to ensure that governance systems in local authorities are suitable for an ‘era of financial pressure and rapid change,' MPs have warned.
MPs criticise children's social care progress
MPs have accused the Department for Education (DfE) of still not doing enough to make the quality or finances of children’s social care sustainable.