Michael Burton is editorial director of The MJ
Don’t throw out the rule book with the bath water
Like all complainants, the Local Government Ombudsman is both a nuisance and an asset, but his latest message is clear, says Michael Burton: Don't lose the focus on the frontline.
A winning approach to care and health
St Helens MBC and its partners have addressed the pressing challenges of rising health and care demand and falling budgets with a programme that this year made it a winner in the Care and Health Integration category in The MJ Awards 2018
Spending Review must factor Brexit’s impact on GDP
Despite economists rubbishing claims that savings on EU contributions post-Brexit could be diverted to the NHS, the Prime Minister continues to make them, says Michael Burton - and the Spending Review must factor Brexit's impact on GDP.
Who tells the truth about education spending?
The old adage ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ is never truer than when it comes to education spending. Is it up or down? Is the Government telling porkies when it says we’re spending more than ever on schools, asks Mike Burton
Is AI a big opportunity or merely Big Brother?
Artificial intelligence could streamline the delivery of council services but are local authorities or indeed their residents ready for such change? A recent round table debate hosted by The MJ and Zurich Municipal examined these key questions as Michael Burton reports
Extra care cash could be swallowed up by pay
Whatever Brexit deal occurs next March, the recruitment crisis in care and other parts of local government will get worse, says Michael Burton - and much of the extra Budget money will go on filling vacancies and paying higher wages
Winner’s quest to build on success
As The MJ launches its 2019 awards Michael Burton reports on how winning the 2018 Local Authority of the Year category this year made an impact on Blackburn with Darwen Council
Are public sector managers paying too much tax?
The public sector has traditionally backed Labour because of its commitment to funding public services. writes Michael Burton - but is this being tested because a growing number of its managers are in the same 40% tax bracket as those on £145k?
Councils plan reserves increase post-Budget
Prudent councils are shoring up their reserves in an effort to protect future finances, figures released as part of the Budget have revealed.
EXCLUSIVE: Middle management delaying transformation
Transformational change is being delayed by staff resistance especially at middle management level, according to an exclusive survey of senior council directors and chief executives by The MJ and BT.
Out goes PFI, leaving us with a £200bn headache
Michael Burton highlights the quiet scrapping of the disgraced Private Finance Initiative as one of the chancellor's more unexpected Budget announcements - the Treasury Budget report simply commented that PFI was ‘inflexible and overly complex’.
Hammond gently loosens the purse strings
With extra wriggle room from better-than-expected tax and spending figures, the chancellor was able to spread some largesse to cash-strapped councils in his Budget, especially in social care, highways and the high street. Michael Burton reports
£30bn windfall for Hammond, think-tank suggests
A new think-tank forecast today has suggested a rosier view of the public finances than previous predictions as chancellor Philip Hammond prepares his Budget for Monday.
What are the options for the chancellor?
The clamour for more spending on public services coupled with the Prime Minister’s pledge to ‘end austerity’ gives the chancellor a severe headache in next week’s Budget if he is to also meet his fiscal targets. Michael Burton reports.
What sort of Brexit should councils be planning for?
Michael Burton tries to find a glimmer of light through the fog that is Brexit.
SOLACE Summit: CIPFA to seek compromise over resilience index
The controversial proposed financial resilience index is likely to be a ‘compromise’ between critics who believe it is unhelpful and supporters who welcome its timing, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) chief executive Rob Whiteman.
The dilemma facing the chancellor in the Budget
Never have expectations from the Budget on 29 October been so high, explains Michael Burton - and never has the chancellor’s influence over events that will effect his forecasts been so low
With a background in regeneration and place-shaping the city of Wolverhampton’s new managing director Tim Johnson is pushing forward with the city’s ambitious redevelopment plans as he tells Michael Burton
One conference with two messages
Two events run simultaneously at the Conservative Party conference, says Michael Burton. At the main hall plenaries 'all is rosy' , while the 'real world' makes an appearance at the 300 or so fringe sessions.
Sweet spot for the taste of honey city
It has been a busy year for Salford City Council’s chief executive Jim Taylor, winning awards from The MJ and also becoming interim chief at neighbouring Trafford MBC, as he tells Michael Burton