I attended the Local Government conference in Manchester last week (day return from Todmorden!) and, perhaps surprising, found some inspiration in it.
One day I sat through four political speeches – Vince Cable, Andy Burnham, Michael Hesletine and Eric Pickles.
Guess which one I enjoyed the most ?!
What was inspirational was to be reminded of the importance of local government and the role (and responsibility) of local Councillors.
And the word “local” is the most important to me – most people care about where they live and want their local area to be a good place to be.
The Local Government Association, the co-ordinating body, has launched a campaign called “rewiring public services” and I think that this is about re-stating the case for local Councils, especially moving from just “picking up the pieces” to preventing problems.
We do quite well with this in Calderdale. Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams have reduced crime – but I doubt that we are doing enough to work with local people and communities to help people have access to help and services day-by-day.
There is still more work to be done, in my view, on bringing people together in local communities to help them shape their own communities.