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Thompson Alex Thomson, the Chief Executive for Localis, on their line up for next week

Conference is upon us and that can only mean one thing, or rather two things – alcohol and fringe events. The bad news is that it’s no champagne for the second year in a row, despite the election result. The good news is that Localis is hosting two exciting events dealing with key localist issues on Monday 4th October, both of which are well worth a visit.

Localis is proud to lead the way in pioneering new ideas on the devolution of power to local bodies and communities. Given the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review announcement and significant cuts that local authorities will face, there has perhaps never been a more important time to discuss how local government can lead the way in delivering more for less. Localis’s two fringe events will do just this.

Our first event is a lunchtime panel debate from 12.30pm to 2.00pm on Monday in room 112 of the Jury’s Inn. Entitled ‘Total Place or Total Waste?’, and kindly sponsored by May Gurney, the discussion will focus on one of the hottest topics in Government – the potential for joined up services and pooled budgets at the local level to deliver better, more personalised, services while also making substantial savings for the public purse. A top notch panel is headed by Bob Neill, Minister for Local Government , and also includes Paul Carter and David Parsons, leaders of two of the councils which participated in the last Government’s Total Place pilots.


Our second event is an evening reception, complete with (non-sparkling) wine and canapes, which starts at 7.30pm on Monday in Media Suite B at the ICC. Held in conjunction with Birmingham City Council, this discussion, entitled ‘Total Neighbourhood: What role for local government in the Big Society?’, will investigate the viability of radically reshaping local services. The speakers, including Greg Clark, Minister for Decentralisation, and Mike Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council, will consider how best to encourage genuine community involvement in the production of services and promote the use of early intervention programmes.

This event ties in with the release of a major piece of research, also entitiled ‘Total Neighbourhood’, undertaken by Localis in association with Birmingham City Council. The report uses Birmingham’s recent experience to make innovative recommendations for councils to work with local communities to design services around locally prioritised outcomes and, where possible, to commission community-based groups to deliver those services.

With high profile speakers and a focus on one of the Government’s key policy areas, these events are certain to provoke lively, and hopefully good-natured, debate. I look forward to seeing you there…

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