Paul Wheeler 21 February 2008

Soap Box

Soap Box image To-day we are all encouraged to be ‘story-tellers’, so it’s interesting to look at the perspective of one of the great story-tellers of our time.
Crime writer Iain Rankin’s recent crime novel Waking The Dead is set in Edinburgh during the G8 protests of July 2005.
It’s a fascinating mixture of politics and policing, but what is unique is that one of the central characters is a local councillor. Without wishing to give away the plot, it is fair so say ‘Councillor Tench’ is not the prefect role model, but he is a powerful and well-respected politician who has the ability to improve the lives of his constituents.
As well as being a ripping yarn, it made me think about the last time a local councillor featured as a powerful politician in the contemporary media. Well don’t hold your breath waiting for the answer!
For the last 25 years, we have allowed the role of local councillors to be diminished and marginalised. Some journalists point to the excesses of the 1980s for the reluctance of national politicians to grant real power and financial devolution.
But, as the latest CPA results have shown, it is local councils which are leading the way in public sector improvement, and especially those with high-quality political leadership.
If we want the wider world of opinion-formers to understand the contribution of local politics, we have to become better story-tellers.
Just as the SOLACE Foundation has made the case for local public sector management, the advocates of local democracy should be thinking of its own foundation to make sure the role of the local elected leadership is more widely understood and appreciated.
The public mood may be distrustful of national politics and MPs, but now is the time to make the case for powerful and effective local politics.
It’s now or never for modern democracy image

It’s now or never for modern democracy

The electoral landscape is now ‘more crowded than ever’, while council resources have been ground down, says Laura Lock – and she warns that professionals do not have limitless capacity.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Project Manager

Leicestershire County Council
Up to £50,823 per annum
The role of this post is to oversee the project management, development and implementation of the County Council’s Major Transport Projects.. Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Programme and Change Delivery Manager (Spatial Planning and Urban Design)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£43,833 - £53,115 Depending on skills and experience
Are you a change delivery manager with expertise in England’s local government spatial planning and urban design sector? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Early Years Practitioner

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum pro rata
This is a diverse area and we have high aspirations for all our children, starting with... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Programme Manager - Association of Directors of Children’s Services

City of York Council
£50,000 to £60,000 pa
This role will help to shape an annual SLI work plan and variously oversee, facilitate, commission or directly deliver and... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

School Wellbeing Worker

City of York Council
£27,614 to £30,602 per annum
The role will involve providing schools with consultation and advice, training, direct work in... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue