This morning’s breakfast session was ‘A Cllr’s guide to CAB services’. There was a launch of a new publication ‘Help for helping your residents: working with the Citizens Advice service: a guide for councillors’. Speakers included Teresa Perchard (Director of Public Policy, Citizens Advice Service) and a team representing councillors, council officers and Citizens Advice Bureaux officers from Wolverhampton.
Debate about private sector growth
In this plenary, Emma Harrison, founder of A4e - a social purpose company helping people into work, outlined the organisation’s use of ‘family champions’ to help troubled families get off benefits and back into work.
For more about this session see:
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announces additional funding
New health and wellbeing boards are to get £1million for training, online tools and support for councillors, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced today (weds).
As well as a blog post highlighting key points from Mr Lansley’s speech, we also caught up with a few delegates afterwards to here their views about this session.
Leader of the opposition, Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, addresses conference about the Government’s ‘cuts’ and public sector strikes
In his speech, the Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP believed that although the Government’s plans for reducing public spending and pension reforms were misguided – strike action was wrong.
He said: “I understand the anger of workers who feel they are being singled out by a reckless and provocative government. But I believe this action is wrong. Negotiations are ongoing. So it is a mistake to go on strike because of the effect on the people who rely upon these services.”
In response to the Localism Bill he remained sceptical on what was proposed by the Government in terms of devolved power.
Mr Miliband added: “It is why we proposed an amendment to the Localism Bill giving local councils power to shape the character of their high streets in line with the wishes of people.
The Government rejected our proposal, but it is something to which I am determined a future Labour government will return.”
Communities and Local Government secretary gives final political speech at the conference
Eric Pickles MP stated that the Government was on track in delivering what they promised in light of the Localism Bill.
He said: “Many of the reforms will be delivered upon the Localism Bill receiving Royal Assent, which should receive Royal Assent at the end of this year. A Local Government Finance Bill will follow to deliver on local retention of business rates and Tax Incremental Financing Powers.
“An end to councils having to come to Whitehall with a begging bowl. Instead, you will have greater autonomy to plan and control your finances.”
He also paid tribute to Baroness Magaret Eaton for her service as Chairman and welcomed Sir Merrick Cockell as the new Chairman of the LG Group.
The big society in practice
In a lively session, chief executives met with American community organiser Jim Diers from Seattle. Diers spoke about the way Seattle has used existing powers, such as planning laws, and community led initiatives to address city wide problems such as land usage, affordable housing and community safety. It was the case, he told the audience, that communities think more holistically than government does, often avoiding the kind of problems that emerge from teams working in isolation from the community within official structures.
For more reports about today see: