On this remembrance day we remember them…
It is week three of our little experiment reviewing the local government writings on the web so without further ado this is a rather shortened local government week that was. We hope you enjoy it and please do take advantage of the comments section to add a few extra comments in.
Congratulations to the Guardian Local Government Network for reaching their first birthday. As part of their celebrations they put together a little post detailing their favourite blog posts of the year. As they said:
What a year for local government. From scepticism over the ‘big society‘ to public spending cuts and the Dilnot report, there has much for writers, bloggers and commentators to chew over during our first year as a professional network. Here we select our favourite blogposts from around the web in the last year.
They’re not wrong and it doesn’t look as if the next year is going to be any different if the cuts, and necessary reform, keep coming.
Talking of cuts; the debate about the local government pension scheme does not seem to show any sign of abating. One of things that has annoyed us a little is that the funded local government scheme is being considered in much the same way as the unfunded schemes in other parts of the public sector. This letter in the Guardian seemed to cover it:
The local government schemes are funded – ie financial contributions by both employers and staff have been invested by skilled and prudent fund managers in order to provide our pension pots. My own local fund was estimated to be able to meet 99% of its pension liabilities just before the world financial crash (it is now recovering to sound financial health). There is no need for the coalition to effectively raid the local government schemes in order to bolster the exchequer, by an unfair impost on people who had nothing to do with the financial mess we’re in.
The civil service scheme is quite different – there is no fund because no contributions have been made and invested. Mark Serwotka and his members have my sympathy and support, but their argument with the exchequer is on an altogether different basis to ours.
This story tickled our curiosity:
Councils have been conned out of more than £7m by criminals using information put on their own websites under transparency drives, a survey says.
The Audit Commission said officials were being tricked into making payments – intended for building firms and other contractors – into false bank accounts.
Some people blamed the ‘open data’ agenda but my feeling is that @tim2040 on twitter basically got it right:
I am thinking of sending letters to councils saying I have $1000000 and need to get it out of Birkina Faso
The great people over at Tweety Hall told us all a bit about how they found the party conferences when they brought social media to them, and it wasn’t all negative.
At all three of the fringe meetings, we encountered councillors and activists who were very concerned about the risks that were presented to politicians by letting down their guard on social media, which is unsurprising considering the scare stories that some of us have heard. But Kate Day, Social Media Editor for the Telegraph, told those present that: “Along as you know yourself, you can be a little bit more relaxed than you think you need to be online.” Hopefully a reassuring remark for politicians to hear from a journalist.
Many local government staff were involved in making the lastest sitting of the UK Youth Parliament a reality last Friday, this time in the House of Commons itself. Kudos to all involved and if you want to see something inspiring you can watch it on the BBC i-player.
Just when you thought local government in the UK had it bad check this out from the USA:
Alabama’s Jefferson County filed for bankruptcy court protection on Wednesday in the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Commissioners for the county, which is home to Birmingham, the state’s biggest city and economic powerhouse, voted 4-1 to declare bankruptcy after meeting behind closed doors for two days in a last ditch-attempt to restructure its debt out of court.
A tentative deal reached with creditors in September to settle $3.14 billion in red ink had been widely expected to avert bankruptcy. But the deal fell apart over what the commission described as creditors’ refusal to meet the terms of previously agreed economic concessions.
And whilst we are seeing that others sometimes have it worse than us do check out Rick Perry (a Republican Presidential nominee no less) struggling to remember his own policies… Hilarious!
Welovelocalgovernment is a blog written by UK local government officers. If you have a piece you’d like to submit or any comments you’d like to make please drop us a line at: email@example.com
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