November newsletter note

Author: Liam Booth-Smith   |  

This note from the Chief Executive is from our November newsletter. You can read the newsletter in full here and register to receive it straight to your inbox on our homepage.

I’ve carved out a little niche in the last week or so being an unintentional contrarian on the Troubled Families programme; in so much as I’m prepared to say publicly that it wasn’t a total shower (far from it if you’d care to read my articles via the links below). I’ve talked to a lot of people working in local government and it’s hard to find an immutable critic. Most I’ve spoken to seem to think in spite of the data reporting problems real progress was made ‘on the ground’, they just don’t want to say it out loud. A timely reminder that silent majorities are also invisible ones.

Therefore I tip my metaphorical cap to Birmingham City Council Chief Executive Mark Rogers for starting the trend in councils publishing Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). The NHS and local government are partners, they share a multitude of social goals, not to mention a connection to communities. Yet they’re also opponents, competing over limited pots of funding and political salience. We try not to mention it because the NHS is generally a savvier operator in this regard, but if councils are prepared to speak truth to white coated power then the politics could become very interesting. The fight isn’t news, its potential fairness however, well that’s worth writing about.

In our last newsletter I promised to award a prize to the best speech of party conference season. There was some spirited argument in favour of Tom Watson’s ‘Delia at halftime’ effort, however, my winner is Ruth Davidson. Despite some odd imagery (how does one ‘pick a fight with an absence of mental health services’?), the leader of the Scottish Conservatives mixed didacticism and easy charm, creating a blend as pleasant as any fine amber restorative found north of the border. As you read this there’s a copy of Speeches That Changed The World (edited by Simon Sebag Montefiore) heading to Holyrood in honorem.

Finally a bit of business. We have two major reports coming out this month. On November 2nd our work on the Future Public Service Ethos is released, similarly our report on housing devolution is coming out on the 17th November. There are launch events for both so if you haven’t already signed up you can do so via the links below.