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The future is local: challenges for public policy in the new parliament

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Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell will be the keynote speaker at The Future is Local, a half day event to be held at LSE on Wednesday 14 September.

The event is the third in a series of annual debates jointly organised by the Local Government Association and LSE. It aims to bring together councillors, chief executives, academics and policy makers to discuss issues facing local government.

LSE Director Howard Davies will welcome participants and chair the first speech by Sir Gus O'Donnell, who was announced as the new Cabinet Secretary in June this year. His speech will be followed by an address from LGA chairman Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart.

A series of three parallel discussions will then follow at 5.15pm:

  • Neighbourhood governance - empowering local communities or local councillors? The government proposes to give people more say in decisions affecting the neighbourhoods they live in. How can we ensure that everyone gets an equal chance to have a say? What are the implications for the role of local councillors? Panellists will be Geoff Mulgan of the Young Foundation and Liz Richardson, CASE at LSE.
  • The Lyons Inquiry: the last chance for local government finance? Panellists are Sarah Wood, director of policy, LGA, and Tony Travers of LSE's Greater London Group.
  • Customer-focused services - choice or voice? What do customers themselves tell us they value in public services? Panellists will be Deborah Mattinson, joint chief executive of Opinion Leader Research and Professor Keith Dowding of LSE's Government Department.

The event will close with a lecture at 6.45pm by Professor Richard Layard on Is more happiness possible locally and nationally?

We now have sophisticated ways of measuring how happy people are, and all the evidence shows that on average, people have grown no happier in the last 50 years. Professor Lord Layard, author of the book Happiness: lessons from a new science (Penguin, 2005) asks what can be done locally as well as nationally to improve our sense of contentment.

The event is open to LGA members and invited guests. To reserve a place, please email: vickita.chauhan@lga.gov.uk


  • Contact Saffron Cordery, LGA Strategy and Communications, 020 7664 3252
  • Judith Higgin, LSE Press Office, 020 7955 7582

Press cuttings

BBC News Online
Councils issue tax rise warning (15 Sep 05)
Council taxes may have to rise again next year because local authorities face a £1.5bn 'black hole', the Local Government Association chief has said. Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart told an LGA conference at LSE the review must produce a workable formula for reform, coupled with early government action to implement it.

Press Association
Whitehall to bid farewell to the 'gifted amateurs' (14 Sep 05)
The new chief of the Civil Service promised to put professionalism at the centre of his agenda for the service. But in his first major speech since taking up the post of Cabinet Secretary a fortnight ago, Sir Gus O'Donnell said that the modern Civil Service needed specialist professionals with "serious skills" in specific policy and operational areas. Speaking to a conference of the Local Government Association at LSE he said: "I am placing professionalism at the centre of my agenda for the Civil Service.  

Starting a revolution - councils take the helm (13 Sep)
A call for Ministers and councils to agree a timetable for rolling back the tide of Whitehall micro-management to deliver an ambitious programme of improvements in public services will be made this Wednesday by local government leaders. The manifesto Future is Local - will be launched by Sir Sandy Bruce -Lockhart during an LGA event at LSE.

8 August 2005