Paul Wheeler is director of the Political Skills Forum and writes on local politics
'Glacial and ungracious' change to a more local track, trace and isolate programme
'We have the grotesque spectacle of a spatchcock national track and trace strategy administered by remote and costly private organisations struggling to match phone numbers to names', says Paul Wheeler.
Enjoy summer as it’s not looking good for the rest of the year
The Government seems to have fallen in love with the idea of big unitary councils and elected mayors, says Paul Wheeler. But this enthusiasm for re-organisation is grim news for the multitude of mainly Conservative district councils, he adds.
Local government can look for powerful allies
Winston Churchill famously remarked ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’. Paul Wheeler says we should use this current one to rebuild a local government that is properly funded, ambitious and a strong advocate for localities.
Our national state and its agencies are incapable of responding to a crisis
We need a slimmer, more strategic central state and one that relies on local initiative and capacity, argues Paul Wheeler - and 'hopefully we can get that right before the autumn and a possible second wave of the pandemic'.
Local government has earned its place at the debate table
Local government’s heroic efforts over the last few months have earned it its place in the public debate on what we have learned from this pandemic - and on what sort of society we want in the future, says Paul Wheeler.
Political control of our councils matters
Paul Wheeler looks ahead to the elections expected in May and the parties' political prospects – and says that on current polling trends this set should be a good one for the Conservatives.
Government must now connect with the 'just about managing'
This government has made many commitments, especially to the new Tory heartlands of the Midlands and the North, says Paul Wheeler. These will need a determination and sense of purpose that has been lacking in previous administrations, he adds.
Support right across the political divide
In the middle of a ‘brutal’ General Election campaign, Paul Wheeler pays tribute to the Local Government Association’s 20 years of cross-party political leadership programmes and peer reviews
More diversity among recent US election candidates bodes well
Attempts to increase the range and diversity of election candidates in the US build on the work of the Local Government Association (LGA) Be a Councillor campaign, says Paul Wheeler.
'If you want to see my achievements look around you'
It is the four political offices at the LGA who have ensured consistent political support and the effective ‘hidden wiring’ to identify the local talent among their councillors and provide the vital follow-up and mentoring, says Paul Wheeler.
Lessons from the collapse of Bury FC
The sad demise of Bury FC will hopefully provoke a long overdue debate on how English football is governed, says Paul Wheeler.
Time to wake up
Paul Wheeler says the ‘slow death of capable local political leadership’ is hopefully a wake-up call to parties to invest in and support local politics.
'Mean, nasty, brutish and short'
A recent reunion of the original cast of the late Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) has led Paul Wheeler to ponder the 'barriers and pitfalls that have been erected in the path of future progress'.
A searchlight is shone on the shoddy treatment of leaseholders
Paul Wheeler says the 'whole sorry saga' of the removal of potentially lethal cladding has shone a long overdue searchlight on the appalling treatment of leaseholders by the major housebuilders.
This 'false debate' could weaken growth of city regions
The current 'false debate' stating that the sad plight of many northern towns is a direct result of the success of nearby cities could weaken the growth of vibrant city regions at a vital time, says Paul Wheeler.
A four-point plan for social housing
Tens of thousands of families are desperately worried about their continuing ability to pay high rents, says Paul Wheeler. Here, he outlines a four-point plan for creating homes for social rent.
Union power games in Birmingham will not help create jobs
Paul Wheeler is sure the cause of the Birmingham bin dispute has its roots in a struggle over equal pay for equal work. What cannot have helped is a 'noisy inter-union dispute'.
The Berlin perspective
Perhaps we should all be asking the Germans how they get their priorities in order before rushing to the European exit, says Paul Wheeler.
Councils are coming out of the shadows
While we can do without friendly fire from a failing Government, councils do need to address issues of performance and leadership locally, says Paul Wheeler.
The North needs help with supporting asylum seekers
Unlike Germany, the UK has outsourced the challenge of supporting asylum seekers to the poorest communities in the North - and when they ask for help they are treated with contempt by journalists, writes Paul Wheeler.