The May Local Elections (Part 2): Rainbow and Other Coalitions

By Chris Game

A fortnight ago, planning how to open the second part of this two-part blog, I counted the number of EU countries with national coalitions: 18.  Then, in Italy, Matteo Salvini collapsed his far-right Lega Nord party’s coalition with the populist Five Star Movement, hoping to prompt and win a snap General Election. 18 became 17 – then 18 again, as Five Star agreed a surprise coalition deal – think Farage/Corbyn – with the centre-left Democratic Party.

Either way, it’s around two-thirds, confirming both that and why coalition-working comes more instinctively to other EU countries’ national politicians, with their mostly proportional electoral systems, than it does to ours.  By my count, six of the EU’s current 18 comprise two parties, 11 three parties, and the Netherlands four.  Four parties, four colours: Liberals blue; D66 (not a code or road, just date of formation!) blue/green; Christians yellow; Orthodox Protestants orange.

Almost a complete rainbow, and certainly sufficiently close to have prompted my own ‘Rainbow search’ among the larger-than-usual number of NOC results in our own May local elections – defined, as detailed in the earlier blog, as explicit working agreements involving at least three distinct political groups.

That first blog bemoaned many councils’ reluctance even fully to report the nature and outcomes of these inter-party negotiations, let alone any implications – and sought to fill the information gap in a disconcertingly large table.  This blog’s far more modest table attempts to bring some order to those individual council numbers, and, I admit, to share my personal satisfaction in seeing broadly confirmed the albeit not terribly bold hypotheses that initially prompted the exercise.

Table 2 (002)

Hypothesis 1 was that coalitions, even if not labelled as such by the participating parties, would outnumber single-party minority administrations, which has certainly not always been the case even in the recent past, with both major parties being chary of ‘sharing power’ with either smaller fry or Independents.  Single-party minority administrations formed after the 2014 elections, for example, outnumbered coalitions by well over two to one.

Hypothesis 2 was that ‘Rainbow coalitions’, as defined above, would outnumber two-party coalitions. There were several back in 2014 – I recall particularly the at least four-group ‘Brentwood Accord’, as well as ‘regulars’ like Southend-on-Sea, Colchester (they’re naturally congenial in Essex) and Stroud – but nothing approaching this year’s 21.

Hypothesis 3 was that the party involved in the greatest number of coalitions would be the Lib Dems, and that the Greens would be much more extensively involved than even their greatly boosted councillor numbers would suggest.  Hypothesis 4, added admittedly after seeing their exceptional number of seat gains, was that ‘Independents’ collectively would feature in the most coalitions – partly because their usually smallish numbers can offer bigger parties a relatively cheap means of pushing them into majority territory.

The obvious problem in this instance of being proved so right is that behind almost every one of the 66 cases summarised in the table is a potentially recountable story, making selection somewhere between invidious and impossible. I have no structured solution, so will simply start with the biggest rainbows and stop when a tolerable word limit looms.

The first is easy.  It has to be the Unity Alliance now running Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) council, one of the two unitaries created just this April – it having been decreed that nine (all Conservative-run) councils and 333 councillors constituted far more local government than was good for Dorset’s 780,000 citizens, who would feel much better served by just two councils and under half the councillors. Not surprisingly, Conservatives won most BCP seats in May, but, with the Lib Dems and Independents hugely increasing their votes, they fell short of a majority. Hence the Unity Alliance, led by Lib Dem Vikki Slade and comprising – wait for it – 15 Lib Dems, 8 Christchurch Independents, 7 ‘Poole People’, 3 other Independents, 3 Labour, 2 Greens, and a one-member ‘Alliance for Local Living’.  Enough groups to make the Dutch jealous, and for a full, traditional Newtonian seven-colour rainbow.

Exceptional, yes, but Burnley came close, with Labour playing the grouchy role of the BCP Tories.  Having only narrowly lost their majority on the 45-member council, the 22 Labour members hoped to out-organise the disparate and less experienced ‘opposition’ at the full council meeting vote and hang on to the leadership. Bad mistake.  First outvoted, they then declined to join a five-group coalition of Burnley and Padiham Independents (5), Lib Dems (8), Conservatives (4), UKIP – since turned Brexit Party (3), and Greens (2).

As already indicated, though, there are several councils for whom coalition government has become the norm in recent years – and for whom the instability insinuations of the ‘No Overall Control’ label are particularly misleading. Colchester is one example.  A political mapping of the district will show that for most of the past 20 years it has been predominantly Conservative blue – except for the Colchester/Wivenhoe patch in the east where the University of Essex happens to be.  Which accounts for the Lib Dems having generally been the largest party on the council and for the past decade having headed a Lib Dem/Labour/Independent coalition every bit as stable as most single-party administrations.

As already indicated, I have no profound conclusion or message with which to close this extended blog.  So I will end with two of the numerous cases that invariably make this kind of ‘research’ worthwhile. If there were an ‘Admire the nerve!’ award, it would surely go to North Kesteven’s Cllr Richard Wright, Leader of the Conservative group which lost, by a margin, control of the council it had dominated for 12 years.  Wright, however, comes from the John Cleese/Black Knight ‘Tis but a scratch’ school.   Unfortunate, he conceded, but it was “a protest vote, not on local issues … about the ongoing deadlock between the national parties on Brexit.”  The solution – obvious!  The Conservative Group would “no longer exist”, the council would be run by the ‘North Kesteven Administration’, led by him, with Conservatives in all leading roles – oh yes, plus a couple of Independents to make the executive “more inclusive”.

Finally, one of several ‘well, you’d not have guessed that a few years ago’ outcomes. Hartlepool achieved local government notoriety in 2002 for electing H’Angus the Monkey, the football club’s mascot, as its first elected executive mayor.  Stuart Drummond, for it was he, became the first elected mayor to win a third term, following which the townspeople voted to abolish the post. Whereupon Labour resumed its long-term dominance of the council – until, following a well-publicised internal personal and ideological split, the party lost its overall council majority, mainly to candidates of the recently formed Hartlepool Independent Union (HIU). Within days of this May’s election, the Labour council leader and two other Labour councillors defected to the Socialist Labour Party, the HIU formed a coalition with the Conservatives and the Veterans’ and People’s Party, and the subsequently elected Chair of the influential Regeneration Committee is … former Labour council leader, Cllr Akers-Belcher.  And still there are people who reckon local government is boring!

chris gameChris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV interested in the politics of local government; local elections, electoral reform and other electoral behaviour; party politics; political leadership and management; member-officer relations; central-local relations; use of consumer and opinion research in local government; the modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government.

With thanks to Democratic Audit for allowing us to re-post this blog.

The views in the blog represent those of the author and not those of INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

The May Local Elections (Part 1): From Results to Outcomes

By Chris Game

There’s this northern borough council, generally Labour-controlled, but where in the May elections, despite only a third of seats being contested, the party’s candidates lost variously to Liberal Democrats, Independents, UKIP and Greens, and thereby its overall majority. Next day, Friday 3rd, the Council published ward-by-ward results and listed the now seven political groups, from which it was clear that none reached the requisite 50%+1.

And that was the sum of pertinent information emanating from the Council’s website for the rest of the month, apart from announcing the appointment of the new mayor – a Liberal Democrat, although there was no mention of that evidently secret and classified detail.

For any hint of how and by whom the council would be run citizens had to wait until Thursday 30th for the brief announcement of the outcome of an “extraordinary meeting of the full council” – though whether a formal EGM or merely a bizarre event wasn’t clarified.  The perfunctory statement listed the five members of the new Executive. These obviously couldn’t remain secret, but, despite their appointment resulting from a multi-party election, there was again no hint of their representing three of the seven political groups.

That alone qualified it as one of the ‘Rainbow coalitions’ (see below) in which I personally was particularly interested. But it transpired (local newspapers and social media, of course) that two more groups were part of this multi-party agreement, making it in effect and reality an anti-Labour coalition.

Why on earth, though, couldn’t even residents, never mind the rest of us, have these developments explained in sensible grown-up language?  Well over 30 years ago, an INLOGOV colleague (now De Montfort Emeritus Professor Steve Leach) and I worked on a research project for the Government’s Widdicombe Committee on the Conduct of Local Authority Business, one secondary but important aim of which was to open up and normalise the role of politics, including party politics, in local government – to emphasise, indeed, that politics “are in fact the life blood of local government”, what local government is actually about – and to end the prissiness still sadly but obviously pervading the culture and corridors of some town halls.

Tantrum over, but the fact remains that extracting even this basic ‘Who governs?’ information from dozens of ‘hung’ or ‘No Overall Control’ (NOC) councils can be a real chore.  Which in turn means that, even in a highly reputable House of Commons Library research briefing in late July, that’s how these ‘results’ indefinitely remain.

It was the map in that briefing, reproduced below, that finally prompted these two linked blogs, of which this is the first – protesting to the world at large, but particularly councils themselves, that election RESULTS, even colourfully and interactively presented, are not necessarily the same as OUTCOMES.  Moreover, when they’re not, it is the outcomes that are ultimately more important and, I’d suggest, usually more interesting.

commons library council control map

For the sake of those, like me, with ageing memories, I’ll start with a headline summary of the May results, which involved councils all or one-third of whose seats were previously contested in 2015.  Conservatives again won most seats (3,559), but lost over 1,300 and thereby control of 55 of their 198 English councils.  Labour, with 2,020 seats, also lost net councils, reducing their total to 91. Liberal Democrats won 1,351 seats, and doubled their English councils controlled from 11 to 23.  Greens won 263 seats, easily their highest figure this century.  UKIP took 34 seats, 167 fewer than in 2015.

Finally, and perhaps most remarkably, considering how heavily the electoral system is stacked against them, was the impact of the variegated so-called ‘Independents’ – with over 600 seat gains, control of the previously Conservative Uttlesford and Labour Ashfield councils, plus the Middlesbrough mayoralty.

Back, then, to the map.  Uttlesford and Ashfield are there, in the vicinities of West Essex and Nottinghamshire, but their hexagons shaded an inappropriate grey, along with Epsom & Ewell, perpetually (well, since 1937) controlled by its Residents Associations.  They deserve something far more distinctive – hence my added aquamarine rings – also more than a passing mention, but, as effectively majority party groups, they are not what these blogs are primarily about.

The appropriately white or empty boxes are councils without elections in this year’s cycle – mostly the London boroughs, but also councils undergoing ‘re-sizing’ by the Boundary Commission.  Which leaves us with the profusion of black hexagons.  There are 79 in this count, which includes elected mayoral and ‘Alternative Arrangements’ councils – far fewer than in the noughties when the Lib Dems were regularly winning a quarter of the vote, but still nearly one in every four elected councils, and still, in late-July, recorded as under ‘No Overall Control’.

It’s an unfortunate label.  First, it’s much too close to, and certainly risks being interpreted as, ‘out of control’.  Secondly, it carries (or at least did before Brexit) the suggestion that the narrowest single-party majority is somehow democratically superior to and operationally sounder than a necessarily negotiated partnership of two or more parties or groupings.

At the very least, it should be signalled, particularly by an affected council, as temporary.  Which in turn should surely at the minimum mean the council communicating – along with ward results and within a couple of clicks from its website home page (to either ‘council governance’ or ‘councillors’) – the basic party arithmetic, that inter-party negotiations are in progress, and that final decisions will be taken at, and announced and explained immediately after, the council’s forthcoming Annual Meeting.  Hardly rocket science, but the proportion of councils who manage it well remains disappointingly small.

Which is why I’ve sometimes attempted myself to tidy up these electoral loose ends and complete the picture.  And why, particularly with all the talk of the party alliances that nationally might have got us somewhere over the past three years, and certainly have saved Westminster from being the laughing-stock of the EU, it seemed a good time to illustrate just how creative and adaptable local politicians can be when faced with potentially tricky post-election numbers.

The tables that conclude this first blog are unavoidably lengthy and, particularly with there apparent rainbow fixation, deliberately idiosyncratic.  They have already appeared on the LSE’s Democratic Audit blog, and I would like to thank both LSE and particularly Alice Park for her invaluable advice and assistance. The table obviously constitutes the raw material for the second interpretative blog which will follow this one tomorrow.

Rainbow coalitions will feature prominently and require a final definitional word. However presented by the participants themselves – more frequently nowadays as ‘Alliances’, ‘Pacts’, or even a ‘Together Group’ (you know who you are!) – if there is an explicit working agreement involving at least three distinct groups, totalling 50%+1 council seats, that here is a Rainbow COALITION; no majority, and it’s a coalition.

RESULTS AND OUTCOMES OF MAY 2019 LOCAL ELECTIONS

table small1

table2smallagain

chris gameChris Game is a Visiting Lecturer at INLOGOV interested in the politics of local government; local elections, electoral reform and other electoral behaviour; party politics; political leadership and management; member-officer relations; central-local relations; use of consumer and opinion research in local government; the modernisation agenda and the implementation of executive local government.

With thanks to Democratic Audit for allowing the reproduction of portions of this blog.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and not INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

Childhood Obesity – how young people can thrive and lead happy, healthy lives

By Ketan Sheth

Brent represents an exemplar of the incessant and thrilling renewal of London with the diverse and welcoming environment, which makes the borough an exciting place to live and, for children, a stimulating place to grow up. However, Brent is also disproportionally affected by some of the key public health concerns for our youngest residents. No London borough has higher childhood overweight and obesity rates, currently at 44% for children in Year 6. Just one out of five children meet the recommended minimum of one hour of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Urgent action to address this issue is required and that’s why I have set up a task group bringing together a whole raft of stakeholders to see how we can work together to tackle this urgent crisis in our community. A multidisciplinary childhood obesity task group includes experts and professionals from the Brent Council, Public Health, NHS, education and charity sectors as well as parent representatives – all committed to reducing the share of children with excess weight.

Through multiple evidence sessions, the current approach to childhood obesity in Brent is scrutinised and novel ways of tackling the problem designed. Bringing together such a wide range of experts is refreshing. There is an unequivocal acknowledgement that, for all too long, the various stakeholders have worked in isolation, where a comprehensive, holistic approach is required. Indeed, tackling childhood overweight and obesity is a joint responsibility.

However, the intended beneficiaries themselves are rarely directly involved in policymaking for their health and wellbeing. Hence, Lander Bosch, PhD student in health geography from the University of Cambridge, embarked upon the challenge to identify barriers to, and facilitators of, children’s physical activity in Brent’s built environment as part of his doctoral study. Rather than looking at the borough from an adult perspective, Brent children were able to have their say in the study. He joined a diverse group of 35 primary schoolchildren and their parents or carers, living in all parts of the borough, on their commute to or from school – traversing 60 miles across Brent. Along the way, elements of the environment the children liked or disliked were discussed and many creative interventions that could improve the neighbourhood for them were suggested. These included, for instance, a mobile reporting system for antisocial behaviour and ways to calm traffic around schools.

Having the opportunity to get to know Brent through the eyes of an engaged and welcoming group of primary schoolchildren is extraordinary, and results in strong advocacy for these young people. The insights from Lander’s research are fed directly into the discussions of the childhood obesity task group, to ensure the voices of Brent’s children are strongly represented in the novel policy framework aiming to increase levels of physical activity, while reducing childhood overweight and obesity.

The borough most certainly offers great possibilities for real measures that can improve the health of its youngest residents, and all stakeholders fully support their implementation.

ketanCllr Ketan Sheth is  Chair of Brent Council’s Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

 

All views in this blog are those of the author and not INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

Fieldwork from my Spare Room – Who’s with Me?

By Bryony Rudkin

I’m in the middle of my fieldwork. For some of my fellow students this means travel far and wide, inoculations and visas. For me, it’s sitting at home with a mug of coffee watching webcast council meetings and the greatest danger is missing couriers delivering parcels to my sons. Don’t get me wrong. My curiosity is immense and I am deeply immersed in a series of meetings in two different authorities, my ‘new box sets’ as I call them. One debate brought sentimental tears to my eyes, another had me cringing with embarrassment. Not sure the ethics process quite prepared me for this, but I’m pressing on regardless.

One aspect of this endeavour which I hadn’t considered in detail before has become more of an obsession though. Who else is watching with me and where are they? As I sit here in my spare room in Ipswich, what do those councils make of my repeat viewings of their business? Who is recording my engagement with the process, my location, the time of day (or night) at which I log on? Is this information reported to anyone? Communications officers, councillors, anyone? Wanting answers, I took to the most authoritative source I knew and asked my local government friends on Facebook. Their responses were mixed – some had no idea, some said data was collected but they didn’t think it was reported. One colleague told me to look out for a report to his council in December and another told me 2000 people had watched one particularly fractious Planning Committee meeting. Another friend, not from the sector but with an interest in data, helpfully pointed me to a chapter in his book on the subject.

Useful as these anecdotes were, I needed more, so went looking to see what formal evidence there was on who watches webcasts and where. My first ‘find’ was a church in Tennessee which broadcast a weekend of services and had figures on who had logged on to their website but seemed to want a donation before it would give full detail. My husband told me their algorithms had already captured too much about me from my one visit, so I moved on quickly and struck a small, but rich seam of evidence from Wales. In 2013 the Welsh government had made £1.25m available to local councils for the installation of broadcasting equipment with the aim of improving local democracy and so, according to the then minister responsible, “…members of the public should be able to see how decisions affecting their everyday lives are taken.”

Fast forward a few years and those councils started reporting back on the outcomes. I found several papers submitted to formal meetings of Welsh local authorities and some valuable insights, not least from Torfaen where it was observed that “Webcasting allows people to view meetings at any time of the day or night and wherever they are, whether that be in Pontypool, Cwmbran, Blaenavon or anywhere in the world”. Being conscious of their reach could be significant to a council wanting to know if the cost of the broadcast equipment and platforms on which to publish it was worth it. Not really worth it to the council tax payer to be broadcasting planning applications in Pontypool to Seattle perhaps, but the same paper also observed its own officers were also logging on to watch meetings, with several people watching on the same devices on occasion.

I found reports back to English councils too. The Wirral, for instance, reported in June of this year that there had been some 8753 viewings of its 67 webcast meetings (live and recorded) in 2018/19 and also acknowledged the value of broadcasting meetings with significant public attendance where overspill rooms had to be set up to accommodate all those wanting to see decision making taking place.

My research looks directly at the way councillors behave in meetings, what happens when they make decisions and if knowing they are being recorded doing this makes a difference. Webcasting has made this research easier to carry out, but my interest is now piqued as to who is watching alongside me and I have more contacts to speak to and data to find. If you need me, I’ll be in the spare room watching a screen….

bryony talkingBryony Rudkin is a PhD student at INLOGOV, Deputy Leader of Ipswich Borough Council and Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure. Bryony also works with councils around the country on behalf of the Local Government Association on sector-led improvement, carrying out peer reviews and delivering training and mentoring support.

 

All views in this blog are those of the author and not INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

How do you scrutinise health services across a large area?

By Ketan Sheth

Many members of health overview and scrutiny committees will feel that their role is a complex one. In my experience, this area of scrutiny becomes even more demanding when there is a joint committee, involving a number of local authorities, to scrutinise health services across a large area.

I sit on the North West London Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (JHOSC) alongside seven other local authority representatives which was set up in 2013 to review Shaping a Healthier Future – the NHS transformation programme across north-west London. This year it was confirmed that Shaping a Healthier Future was no more, so you might be thinking that there would never be such a complex issue for a joint health committee to review. You’d be wrong.

A major change is afoot, but this time it’s more on the commissioning side of health services. On the back of the new NHS Long Term Plan, there’s now active consideration of a proposal to merge all eight of the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) covering north-west London into one body. This would create a body commissioning health services for about 2.2 million people across eight boroughs. It’s linked to an intention in the Plan, for Integrated Care Systems linked to single commissioning bodies. Parts of the machinery for just one CCG have been around in north-west London for a while. The CCGs, a while ago, set up their ‘collaboration’, which has a joint finance committee, and there’s nothing new about co-commissioning among a number of CCGs. I don’t want to dwell here on the pros and cons of the proposal – we’ve had one JHOSC meeting to focus on it and shortly we’ll have another. But what interests me is reflecting on the challenges for members sitting on a joint committee who have to review such a large-scale project.

The first obvious point is that this is an enormous topic and the implications are profound. To my mind as a scrutiny member, the only way that you can start to understand the proposal and prepare for the all-important committee meeting is by breaking down the topic into smaller chunks. One way to do this is to look at the published NHS papers and ask some obvious questions based on: how, when and why.

The ‘how’ is key. According to NHS England guidelines for merging CCGs a “merger should not unduly distract the existing CCGs from business as usual, including delivering core performance standards and achieving financial balance.” So, straight away there’s one interesting line of enquiry here – how will the CCGs manage this process, if it goes ahead, and how will they be able to run existing services effectively?

The ‘when’ is interesting. The NHS Long Term Plan describes an intention that by April 2021 all of England will be covered by an Integrated Care System, involving a CCG or CCGs working together with partners. But in London, things are moving quite a bit faster and the intention at the moment is to have a single CCG for north-west London by April 2020. Again, this raises an interesting question: what are the risks of this pace of change?

Let’s look at the ‘why’. It would be unfair to say there was a single reason. But the NHS Long Term Plan says by “by 2020/21, individual CCG running cost allowances will be 20% lower in real terms than in 2017/18 and CCGs may therefore wish to explore the efficiency opportunities of merging with neighbouring CCGs.” This brings up more lines of enquiry such as will the cost-savings be achieved and what happens if they are not?

So, it will still be a big, demanding topic to look at in committee. But already, I think as a scrutineer I can feel more on top of it, and better prepared by working through it layer by layer.

ketanKetan Sheth is Councillor for Tokyngton Wembley and Chair of Brent Council’s Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

 

All views in this blog are those of the author and do not represent those of INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monitoring visit to Armenia by the Congress of the Council of Europe

Bryony Rudkin

Arriving at Norwich airport at 4am is quite an achievement on a Sunday morning when it’s still dark and the road signage is poor.  Needs must however and last month this is where I set off from for Armenia as part of a team from the Congress of the Council of Europe where I’m a member of the UK delegation.  The Congress is made up of locally elected representatives of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe (so wider than the EU).  Part of its remit is to uphold the principles of the European Charter of Local Self-Government so monitoring visits are carried out to member states by local representatives from other countries along with an academic expert and a senior member of the Congress secretariat.

This was my first such visit.  The journey was something of a sensory overload taking me from Norwich to Yerevan via Moscow.  Norfolk is a long way geographically and culturally from the oldest Christian nation, but by late morning the next day I was listening to the Mayor of Yerevan explain his ambition for a new transport system and better housing for his residents.  Plus ca change.  Mayor Marutyan was elected in October 2018 following the ‘velvet’ revolution in April of the same year.  An actor, comedian and film producer by trade, he is one of the new politicians coming to the fore throughout the continent.  Shaky 20th century infrastructure and other unresolved issues have left him with enormous challenges.  Yerevan is a very green city, but as choked with traffic as most capitals.  It might have been even greener had it not lost thousands of trees when the Soviet Union crumbled and the state could no longer supply it’s people with fuel.  The Mayor’s response to our questions showed the same commitment to improvement and change I’ve seen in towns and cities round the UK and the same frustration with central government when it came to getting things done.

The following day brought contrast with a visit to a stunning village which sat alongside the remains of a collective farm and still proudly used the House of Culture from the same era – children proudly showed us folk dancing and karate with all the zeal and joy of any contestant on Britain’s Got Talent.  Here local representatives work alongside members of a huge diaspora who have returned to support the communities their families fled at the time of the Armenian genocide.  Again, some exceptional challenges alongside the mundane, but this village is doing well.  A daily bus takes its young people to the university in Yerevan and they have a free, strong Wifi signal, the like of which rural Norfolk would give its back teeth for.

So a visit of contrasts.  Evidence that some institutions and behaviours had changed little from the time when instruction came direct from Moscow, but we did meet bright, capable young people in the civil service and NGO’s – the staff of the Ombudsman who defends human rights were exceptional.  We also saw what might be identified as ‘Big Society’ in action through the work of a super-diaspora.  Clear policy objectives in local planning showed mayors and councillors were ambitious for their people.  A privilege indeed to have been part of the team.  My next task?  To get Norfolk County Council to improve the signage on the new airport distributor road…

bryony talkingBryony Rudkin is a PhD student at INLOGOV, Deputy Leader of Ipswich Borough Council and Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure. Bryony also works with councils around the country on behalf of the Local Government Association on sector-led improvement, carrying out peer reviews and delivering training and mentoring support.

 

All views in this blog are those of the author, and not those of INLOGOV or the University of Birmingham.