Keep up to date with the latest news and events from around the department and the wide-ranging projects our staff and students get involved with. More news throughout the School of Government and Society

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Posted 24 July 2015

Blog: Combined Authorities – Why Birmingham doesn't have a city region like Leeds

Written by Chris Game. "Cornwall leapfrogs West Midlands in devolution race" was the headline over one report of the Government's recent devolution deal with Cornwall Council, giving the county greater control over adult skills spending and regional investment, and, with the Isles of Scilly, the prospect of integrating health and social care services.

Posted 16 July 2015

Blog: Is a 120-member council really too big?

Written by Chris Game. "This blog's main purpose is to place somewhere in the public domain some basic electoral data on council size. Basic, but not normally presented in a form that I've sometimes wanted for illustrative purposes. I'm hoping, therefore, there may be others who'll find the data of at least passing interest, so here goes."

Posted 24 June 2015

Blog: Do 'sticky' institutions always survive? The demise of the Audit Commission

Written by Katherine Tonkiss. "The Audit Commission played a central role in the audit, inspection, performance improvement and regulation of local authorities (and other public service providers) in England for over thirty years. Operating at arm's length from government, it thrived under the efficiency and performance improvement agendas of successive Conservative and Labour governments, growing into a large and powerful public body."

Posted 12 June 2015

Blog: Recall – right for councillors, right for mayors

Written by Chris Game. "The topical, and certainly most agreeable, purpose of this blog is to applaud the appointment of illustrator, cartoonist and writer, Chris Riddell, as the ninth Children's Laureate. The enviably talented Riddell has been The Observer's political cartoonist for 20 years and is also a writer and multi-award-winning illustrator of children's books. But before any of that fame and fortune, he generously provided easily the most eye-catching half-page in an INLOGOV undergraduate degree recruitment brochure.

Posted 22 May 2015

Blog: A new typology of local government systems

Written by Pawel Swianiewicz. "Typologies of the European systems of local government are important and frequent point of reference for many scholars. But the trouble for scholars from my part of Europe is that the most popular classifications concentrate on Western part of the continent, totally disregarding the post-communist Central and Eastern Europe."

Posted 15 May 2015

Blog: A day for devolution

Written by Daniel Goodwin. "The Cities Devolution Bill, with careful attention to principle as well as expediency and in the context of wider constitutional renewal, could just be the way to start to make that happen and help to address the wider devolution challenges which the UK faces following the General Election".

Posted 14 May 2015

Blog: The emergence of city regions

Written by Jon Bloomfield. The structures of sub-national government in the UK are about to undergo major change not just in Scotland but across the major conurbations. As George Osborne has said "In a modern, knowledge-based economy city size matters like never before."

Posted 12 May 2015

Blog: The other 1215 Charter: 800 years of elected mayors

Written by Chris Game. "You'd not have known it from the national media, either before Election Day or since, but the 650 parliamentary contests weren't the only ones taking place in the UK last Thursday. It was the year in local government's four-year election cycle that almost all English district and unitary councils – 279 of 293 – had elections, and there were votes too for six mayors, for many parish and town councils, plus the odd local referendum."

Posted 07 May 2015

Blog: The other 1215 Charter: 800 years of elected mayors

Written by Chris Game. "The LGA's Magna Carta web pages have recently featured a delightful homophone – sounds the same as another word, but different spelling and meaning. Among this summer's many MC commemorative events will reportedly be "a programme of inciteful lectures and talks" (my emphasis)."

Posted 07 May 2015

Blog: A marriage made in heaven?

Written by Catherine Staite, Director of INLOGOV. The ESRC, LGA and SOLACE have created a new role – that of Research Facilitator for local government – with the aim of supporting strong and productive relationships between researchers, policy makers and practitioners. I'm very pleased to take on that role, with the active support of the INLOGOV team of academics and expert practitioners.

Posted 07 May 2015

Blog: Preparing future leaders: The Total Leadership Programme

Written by Daniel Goodwin – Senior Associate Fellow. The Total Leadership Programme is an exciting new venture which is designed to help senior local government managers prepare themselves for a chief executive role. It's a partnership between INLOGOV and SOLACE, which fills a serious gap in provision nationally. It is open not only to directors in councils but also to people at a similar level within private sector firms who work in the public sector and who might be considering such a move too.

Posted 01 May 2015

Pollsters v bookies: who's on the money in election 2015?

Written by Chris Game, Honorary Senior Lecturer, INLOGOV. "Polls Apart!" used to be the cliché newspaper headline whenever two opinion polls about an impending election reported fractionally differing findings. For the 2015 election, they're rapidly running out of puns. The sense of frustration is palpable. Those polls keep coming, and none gives a clear idea of who will win.

Posted 24 April 2015

Blog: Make elections work for you: check the polls, but follow the money

Written by Chris Game. "Spoiler alert: this is a blog about elections, but not local elections – mainly because it's about election betting, and, with one conspicuous exception, which will be mentioned, our modern-day local election contests and candidates are rarely of sufficiently general interest to attract much serious fixed odds betting."

Posted 20 April 2015

Why the British election should be more like a student ballot

Written by Chris Game, Honorary Senior Lecturer, INLOGOV. Wednesday April 15 is Democracy Day. It's the start of the final coordinated push before the 2015 voter registration deadline on April 20. It was organised, like February's National Voter Registration Day, by Bite the Ballot, a not-for-profit community movement that aims to encourage young people in particular to reject Russell Brand's baleful "stop voting" gospel and make their votes count.

Posted 10 April 2015

Blog: Council Tax Support – anatomy of a Pickles' localism triumph

Written by Chris Game. Shortly before the dissolution of Parliament, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles issued an apparently self-penned eulogy of his ministerial record, entitled on the Government's own website, in characteristic, cod Churchillian, style: Local Government: Delivering for England. It makes an interesting document, as would be hoped of one requiring two separate links.

Posted 02 April 2015

Are the Conservatives really about to increase minority representation?

Written by Chris Game, Honorary Senior Lecturer, INLOGOV. The Sunday Times recently ran a pretty incredible headline, claiming that in the 2015 election, "Tories may secure most ethnic MPs". This would represent a huge turnaround. Ten years ago – and 18 years after the all-Labour quartet of Dianne Abbott, Paul Boateng, Bernie Grant, and Keith Vaz had become the UK's first post-war black and minority ethnic (BME) MPs – the Conservatives didn't have a single one.

Posted 20 March 2015

Blog: Queen Cersei and the evaporating Revenue Support Grant

Written by Chris Game, Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV. Next week is the last week of Hilary Term, or revision week at the end of Spring Term, as it's known here at the UoB and most other universities who feel no great affinity to the probably inappropriately named 4th Century St Hilarius of Poitiers. Over the many years in which I lectured undergraduates, I used rather to like it: end of the course/module in sight, legitimate chance to share and spread gossip about approaching local elections, lecture attendances boosted by students desperate for exam hints. Plus, nowadays, plenty of discussion-prompting visual aids – one of which is the pretext for this blog.