Blog - Davy Jones Consultancy
5 Feb 2009
Challenges for local government

This blog is a bit of a cheat really ! Today the IDeA/LGA have published a booklet – Looking Back, Moving Forward – interviewing 8 Leaders and a Mayor about how they turned round their local authorities to being top performers. The booklet includes a concluding commentary from yours truly on the themes that emerge from these interviews, and perhaps more importantly, some thoughts on what might be the most important future drivers of local government improvement. The key inter-related...

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8 Jan 2009
A new year resolution

Let’s make 2009 the year that citizen involvement in local services finally becomes the norm not the exception. Pie in the sky? Maybe. Will the current economic crisis help? Maybe not – at least for the short-sighted. There is no doubt that the first instinct for many in local services is to batten down the hatches: “no money for that fluffy empowerment stuff – back to the day job.” But it is the day job that has to change Informing,...

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…they will queue round the block for hours to vote in an election. Inspiration from America What an inspiring sight to see millions of young, poor and black and Hispanic Americans voting in an election who have never bothered before. Why this time – because they really believed it would make a difference and pull the country back from its obsession with waging wars and its subservience to the interests of the rich and powerful. Let’s hope they are not...

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13 Oct 2008
The collapse of capitalism

The collapse of capitalism Now I’ve seen it all – a Labour government nationalises half the banks and the stock market cheers. Almost twenty years after the collapse of communism, capitalism has now gone the same way. Good riddance to both of them ! Throughout those twenty years, markets have held sway – omnipotent, infallible, unchallengeable. They could and did exactly what they wanted, regardless of public need or the views of ordinary citizens. Now all can see how greedy,...

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Why football I know football is not everyones cup of tea, but it is the most popular sport in Europe – literally millions of people follow it in detail every week. For my sins too, I admit I have been an Arsenal supporter for fifty years. Last week, another major English football club, Manchester City, was bought up by a billionaires consortium (Abu Dhabi United Group). Immediately they smashed the English transfer record on a star player and threatened to...

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22 Jul 2008
Tackling the democratic deficit

Tackling the democratic deficit ? There is a major problem at the heart of the Government localist and empowerment agenda. Everything important now runs through a multi-agency (Local Strategic Partnership) prism, based on the area as a whole, not the arbitrary catchment areas of the agencies. Good – this is a step forward. But there is no equivalence in this multi-agency framework. The council is elected and accountable to local people. The other bodies, including the partnership (LSP) is not....

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12 Jun 2008
Participatory budgeting

Two years ago, who would have believed that Participatory Budgeting would have become so well-known and so widely practised in the UK? In one leap it has moved from left-field to mainstream. How has this happened? 1) Great credit is due to the Participatory Budgeting Unit and the small band of believers who have promoted PB assiduously in recent years. And the early pilots in Newcastle, Bradford and Salford were crucial to show it could work. 2) It is a...

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1 May 2008
Welcome to my first blog

Citizen empowerment I am often asked whether the Government is really “serious” about citizen empowerment. No one is more sceptical and cynical than me about politicians’ cries of “power to the people” – which should usually have the words “over my dead body” added to the end for more accuracy! Deeds or words? But, judge people by their deeds not their words! Government has realised that detailed management of local services from Whitehall doesn’t work and is very expensive. It...

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1 May 2008
Welcome to my first blog

Citizen empowerment I am often asked whether the Government is really “serious” about citizen empowerment. No one is more sceptical and cynical than me about politicians’ cries of “power to the people” – which should usually have the words “over my dead body” added to the end for more accuracy! Deeds or words? But, judge people by their deeds not their words! Government has realised that detailed management of local services from Whitehall doesn’t work and is very expensive. It...

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