Ian Miller

  • The dead hand of centralism holds back productivity

    20 March 2024

    If councils had the tools, most if not all of them could by now have set fees to recover the full cost of a fast-track planning system, argues Ian Miller.

  • Government’s thinking on transport integration is confused

    06 February 2024

    Current arrangements for taxi licensing in shire counties work well and do not need to be disturbed, says Ian Miller.

  • The problem with productivity plans

    05 February 2024

    The final finance settlement contained some welcome changes, but they are one-off repairs that don’t provide long-term, sustainable funding solutions for districts or other councils, says Ian Miller.

  • It’s time for councils to politely say ‘no’

    22 January 2024

    Cooperating with a Government request for details of councils’ four-day week practices would encourage an unhealthy focus on this issue, says Ian Miller.

  • Are we heading to a funding train crash?

    04 December 2023

    The District Councils’ Network 'seeks at least a 6% increase in core spending power for districts, including the ability to raise council tax by 5% or £10 – modest asks compared to what other types of council have received in the past or might receive for 2024', says Ian Miller.

  • Bold action is needed to avoid widespread financial meltdown

    13 September 2023

    While some cases of council failure point to poor decision-making or weak internal control, many councils would have been able to avoid the tipping point if Government funding had not been cut significantly since 2011, says Ian Miller.

  • Government must set out its case on remote meetings

    24 July 2023

    Even if the answer is a reasoned ‘no’, local government deserves the courtesy of being told the Government's position on remote council meetings, says Ian Miller.

  • An attack on the freedom of councils as corporate bodies

    11 July 2023

    If passed as drafted the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) Bill would mean a council could not say it would stop investing in a country responsible for genocide, says Ian Miller.

  • That Bill and the dead hand of centralism

    13 June 2023

    Such new powers as councils are given are limited either on the face of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill or in the actions ministers will or might take subsequently, says Ian Miller.

  • Elections – a view from the front line

    12 May 2023

    Ian Miller reflects on how the Elections Act 2022 impacted on administrators and voters in Wyre Forest, and he warns against the risk of ‘sleepwalking’ into further provisions.

  • Space: the final frontier

    02 May 2023

    Ian Miller wonders why there is such a rush with the Government's revised national Air Quality Strategy. It was poor planning by Defra, he believes.

  • Councils need the power to set fees

    20 March 2023

    While the DCN welcomes the proposed increases to planning fees, what councils need is the power to set fees for planning and licensing so they can implement change when they want to, says Ian Miller.

  • The perils and complexities of voting system changes

    07 March 2023

    The Elections Act 2022 heralds a major change to the voting process and will leave polling station staff unable to accurately quantify those who cannot vote in May’s elections, says Ian Miller.

  • Election headaches lie ahead

    08 February 2023

    The requirement to produce voter ID in May 2023 and new rules about handing in postal votes in 2024 present further headaches for election teams, says Ian Miller.

  • No settlement surprises for districts this year

    21 December 2022

    Tracy Bingham and Ian Miller unpick the detail of the provisional local government finance settlement, looking at what it means for districts. Unresolved issues remain, they warn.

  • Challenging times lie ahead for districts

    13 December 2022

    The certainty given by the centre’s spending principles for councils seems to revolve mainly around a real terms decrease in districts’ spending power, say Ian Miller and Tracy Bingham.

  • When will we shift away from centralism and ‘Whitehall knows best’?

    30 November 2022

    Only four weeks to go and we’ve seen no evidence the Government's promised plan in the Levelling Up White Paper to streamline the landscape of funding for local government has been prepared or put into effect, says Ian Miller.

  • Autumn Statement: A curate’s egg for districts

    21 November 2022

    Tracy Bingham and Ian Miller say that without bold changes in legislation and policy the ability of districts to sustain their important range of services seems likely to be even more at risk.

  • The Coronation crowns electoral headaches

    18 October 2022

    Returning officer Ian Miller explains why it’s crucial that any changes to bank holidays around the King’s Coronation and to the timetable for the May 2023 elections are settled soon.

  • Districts need certainty on funding

    10 October 2022

    A two-year settlement – even if it is worse than previously envisaged – would at least allow some planning, instead of limping from year-to-year, argues Ian Miller.