The Government may have been thrown into turmoil by the Prime Minister’s demise, but this could be an exciting opportunity for local government to be heard.
I know it was riveting stuff, hour by hour the resignations came and we watched the slow death of the Boris Johnson premiership and already the drama has moved to who will replace him.
As all this was going on, the work of government was grinding to a halt, parliament continued to debate and consider new legislation but much has now been lost and the new leader is likely to devise a new mandate and legislative programme for September onwards.
So local government, what are you going to do between now and September? Do any of the candidates for Conservative Leadership care about Local Government? Do they know what essential services councils deliver? And do they have any idea what Local Government is capable of doing for them, if they were to ask the sector?
As someone who spends their life advising clients on how to promote themselves to you in local government, I think it’s clear that this is your collective opportunity to promote what you – local government – can do under a new Prime Minister.
As you read this we should be down to two candidates, just two, hungry to win the support of the 200,000 Conservative members.
Many of those members will be current or former councillors, all will cheer to hear the leadership candidates place councils at the heart of the plans for tackling the big issues of the day.
Local government, through the Local Government Association – along with the District Councils Network, County Councils Network, London Councils, Conservative Councillors Association, Labour Local Government, Association of Liberal Democrat Councils, National Association of Local Councils et al – have until the 5th September to educate, advocate, inspire and share innovations on how the role of local authorities can be elevated to a more prominent role in how we deliver public services, alongside the NHS, the Police and other public sector services that often overshadow the council’s role in our communities.
You have just two people to influence. While it’s not guaranteed that the winner will appoint the runner up, it is possible you will be talking to the two top people in Government come September. You can get to them now before civil servants and special advisors get hold of them, the layers of protection of the political machine are put around the victor and they start to put their vision into a new legislative agenda. Now, isn’t that a rather exciting opportunity that has just been given to you all?
Working together, knowing that Conservative Councillors have a vote in this election, encouraging the Think Tanks and other wise heads to join your cause, is one way to make your voice heard and influence the agenda to position yourself as an essential part of the delivery of a thriving nation!
This will sit easier with the Conservative Councillors but will it do the other political parties any harm to hear how they can work better together with local government in their future policies? After all, there will be an election no later than 2024 and a good idea is always a good idea.
Don’t squander this opportunity, it’s an unexpected gift from the government!
This article was originally published on the MJ website on 12th July.