Blog - Davy Jones Consultancy
31 Dec 2009
New decade blog

Traditionally, New Year and the start of a new decade especially, is a time for new thinking and hopes for the future. So, here goes for priorities for the next 10 years….. Saving the planet and a new economic model In this next decade, the greatest responsibility facing humankind is to reverse global warming, the rising of sea levels and the plundering of our natural resources. It towers over (while also relating to) all other issues in terms of magnitude...

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13 Nov 2009
Economic madness

I am struggling to understand something. Let me run it by you and see if you can help. The much-lauded private sector, in the shape of the banks, has through incompetence, irresponsibility and greed, caused the biggest international financial crisis for 50 years. The public sector, in the shape of Governments, has bailed out the private sector with squillions and squillions of pounds. And the consensus across the main political parties is that the way out of this financial crisis...

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5 Nov 2009
Participatory budgeting – here to stay

Hands up all the doubters – all those who said it would never take off, it was too radical, too “foreign”, or wouldn’t last beyond Hazel Blears or a Labour Government ! The latest count suggests between 80 and 85 areas of the country are now experimenting with some form of Participatory Budgeting – and the majority of these areas are controlled by Conservative councils. Even in the South East, there are now PB pilots in 8 areas with a...

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John Denham is by general consensus a “good bloke” and takes local government seriously. So when I received the press release about the consultation paper, Strengthening Local Democracy, claiming that it “heralded the biggest single transfer of power to local government in a generation”, I was temporarily quite excited! Until I read it….. The consultation paper is many things, but “the biggest single transfer” etc, it ain’t. All hail scrutiny It makes the right noises about councillors and local people...

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29 Jul 2009
Total place – about time too!

There is a new BIG IDEA in town – Total Place. It’s a good idea but it does now appear to mean all things to all people. First to coin the phrase was Sir Michael Bichard in his Efficiency Report accompanying the Budget. He argued that the recession meant marginal savings would not be adequate in this recession and a new cross-services review of provision was needed in every locality. WHY CUTS? Let us pause a minute here. Why are...

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Political meltdown hits local public services. Blears has gone ! The champion of PB and advocate of the “empowerment” agenda has been ousted over her expenses claims and the failed Blairite plot against Brown. In comes former councillor and left of centre MP John Denham to replace her. And John Healey has been shifted from local government to Housing, with Rosie Winterton replacing him with a brief of local government and regional economies, reporting jointly to the Department for Business...

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What a seminal moment ! The extraordinary public reaction to the revelations on MP’s expenses repeats the public disgust at the incompetence, greed and the sheer immorality of the bankers. People have lost faith in the political elite – bankers and politicians have joined journalists and estate agents as figures of contempt. But more than that, it reflects a deep-seated revulsion at how society has been run (and the system milked) over the last 20 years – unbridled markets, excessive...

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3 May 2009
New thinking breaks out!

The economic crisis is having unexpected effects – the previously impossible may suddenly become probable. The beauty of these rare moments of crisis is that people become liberated from “old thinking” and new ideas can prosper. Already Essex council has set up its own bank to provide loans to local businesses. Others may follow their lead. Maybe the next thing will be local authorities issuing bonds for people to invest in socially and environmentally responsible projects. Others are using the...

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The empowerment agenda is here to stay. It is not just a “New Labour gimmick” – the main parties all support greater citizen involvement. And underlying deep-seated social changes – the rise of the internet, 21st century aspirations of having a voice and choice – make going back to the pre-involvement “old days” simply unthinkable. New media But it is not just citizen expectations that are new to the 21st century. So too are the dazzling array of new media...

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So the Tories have finally issued their long-awaited Green Paper on local government. As they might form the next Government, and already control the majority of English councils their views are very important. There are some amusing, and breathtakingly cheeky, elements in the Green Paper: the claim that the highly centralised Government approach to local government is a New Labour phenomenon. Er, I think not! The Tory record on localism The Tories have short memories. After all, they set up...

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