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14 February 2020

Publish date: 14/02/2020

One day after the Cabinet reshuffle and commentators are still speculating about the relationship between the former Chancellor and Prime Minister (or others close to him) which gave rise to Sajid Javid feeling unable to accept the terms attached to continuing his role. Apparently, a joint team of economic advisers for both the chancellor and prime minister will replace the previous separate teams, with some quarters arguing the new system will reduce the independence of the Treasury and give Number 10 more influence over staffing and policy. Robert Jenrick however, our Communities Secretary who retained his position commented 'it was important that the PM's office and the Treasury worked together as closely as possible'. LLG of course champion the close working association between 151 Officers, MO and CEO through our Golden Triangle campaign. Speculation on central government aside, we all know the effective governance of a local authority is intrinsically tied to productive relationships at both the top tier and indeed at all levels. It remains to be seen whether the Budget scheduled for 11th March will now go ahead following a move which took many by surprise.

In Mr Javid's place we now have the appointment of Rishi Sunak which some view as a big step up. Incidentally, Mr Sunak was a junior minister at MHCLG with responsibility for overseeing and signing off on the statutory scrutiny guidance published last May. At the time, the then Minister for Local Government said "Scrutiny committees form an integral part of the work of councils in delivering services by acting on behalf of residents to hold councillors and staff to account for the important decisions they make...That is why I have set out new guidance to ensure authorities and residents can reap the benefits of effective scrutiny, by instilling a culture that welcomes challenge". A promising sentiment by the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. Let us watch with interest!

Before signing off I really must give a huge congratulations to the finalists shortlisted in the LLG Awards 2020. Everyone has now been notified and an announcement will follow on the website. The Awards are taking place at the LLG Spring Conference in Birmingham and there is still time to book your place. Why not take a look at what previous attendees have to say about the value they obtained from the conference here.

Have a lovely weekend.

Helen McGrath

Head of Public Affairs