Organised by BT and two of its strategic partners, Cratus & PPP, the lecture, aimed at MPs, chief executives and local authority leaders, debated the big issues and opportunities facing local government today.
In an informative talk on the evolution of local government over the last 150 years, Lord Heseltine touched on themes close to BT's heart - the need to embrace change and innovation, a focus on practical solutions, and the importance of building closer links between the public and private sectors.
With addresses from Sir Merrick Cockell and the Rt. Hon. Stephen Dorrell as well, the lecture gave the audience a great opportunity to debate and discuss how today's local government can meet the challenge of rising demands and budget pressures. Last year the LGA estimated that local government would face a funding shortfall of £5.8 billion by 2020 without new sources of revenue.
In the words of Danny Longbottom, Director for Local Government and Health, "BT is a firm believer that the private sector has to contribute to wider society and we take our responsibilities as a purposeful business , and to our customers, very seriously. That's why we are investing in developing the skills young people need to thrive in a digital world through an apprentice scheme delivered at locations right across the UK. And we are building up our regional presence so we are better able to support the needs of a devolved public sector. The technology that we provide is already helping the public sector achieve a smarter digital future and we are committed to continuing to support local government on their digital transformation journey."
BT and its partners hope to make the Chamberlain Lecture an annual event. As Lord Heseltine observed on the night, " this type of event is a natural home for the debate, discussion and analysis that you need in a free democracy."
You can watch highlights of the lecture here: