Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th is usually seen as an unlucky day, says Tony Kirkham - but he hopes the next one is 'the first step on a safe transition, starting with a budget settlement which leads to a sustainable future for local government'.
Investment is at risk from borrowing hike
Increasing the interest rate on borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board puts much-needed investment at risk and to do it without consultation doesn't say much for the relationship between local government and the Treasury, says Tony Kirkham.
What's the demand for children's social care?
In the North-East there has been a 55.7% growth in the average number of looked after children per 10,000 between 2009 and 2018. Tony Kirkham says the biggest single driver of demand would seem to be Universal Credit.
A stitch in time
English cities are trying to deal with the impact of austerity, says Tony Kirkham. But he concludes that 'applying the old proverb "a stitch in time, saves nine" may prove wise and extremely valuable'.
The art of budgeting
We need to know what extra money we are going to get in the Spending Review, not just a continuation of funding streams such as the Improved Better Care Fund (IBCF), says Tony Kirkham.
How much is enough?
If the inquiry into local government funding can establish councils need funding not only to meet their statutory requirements but also to meet the needs of their residents this could be a major step forward, argues Tony Kirkham
Our invaluable work needs to be better understood by the Government
We need to call on those in power to better understand the invaluable work we do in local government and help us deliver creativity without uncertainty, says Tony Kirkham
By no means fair enough
Tony Kirkham is concerned that the desire to deliver fair funding could end up being something we started but couldn't finish.
Pressing on with spending plans despite uncertainty
Newcastle City Council has just launched its medium-term plan for consultation, says Tony Kirkham. Waiting for stability seems even more risky, he adds.
Scrapping the HRA borrowing cap is not enough
The Society of Municipal Treasurers welcomed the Government’s announcement that the borrowing cap on the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) would be scrapped, but Tony Kirkham says on its own it will not be the 'game-changer'.
Telling the truthful story of local government finance
Our ability to communicate in different ways with residents is something we are aware of but in today’s financial climate we don’t seek to enrich our conversations with customers, writes Tony Kirkham.
Why is children's services demand soaring?
Tony Kirkham looks at the possible reasons for increases in demand and costs for children's services.
Is the apprenticeship levy an opportunity or a joke?
Tony Kirkham supports apprenticeships but says they must be developed in all shapes and sizes so they are a genuine opportunity rather than just another tax.
Short-term objectives reap short-term gains
Tony Kirkham says it is vital councils do not use additional social care cash to put off the evil day.
Crow like a rooster
In the Chinese year of the rooster, Tony Kirkham explains why councils must be trustworthy, hard-working and sociable, but also shameless attention-seekers.
Change your approach to finance
Local government must think differently about business rates retention or communities will suffer, warns Tony Kirkham
An uncertain future?
Councils are unsure what they will look like in three years' time but community engagement is helping to shape that future, explains Tony Kirkham
An eruption in local government
Serious national uncertainty means councils face an uphill struggle to submit efficiency plans, says Tony Kirkham
An open goal on economic growth?
Tony Kirkham asks what a local football team being in the Premier League does for a region's economic growth
Keeping the public on side
Public concern about shrinking services persists and councils must learn to take communities with them and ensure they are part of every solution, says Tony Kirkham.