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What is Smart Procurement?

Jane Plant AssociateWeightmans LLP

The way in which local authorities and housing associations consult with leaseholders over things like refurbishment costs has long been a tricky issue. Changes are in the pipeline that will make it more important than ever to ensure landlords have robust processes in place so they play by the rules.

Paul Hackett

Who governs Britain?

Paul Hackett DirectorThe Smith Institute

Around 4,000 candidates stood in the general election.  Just 650 of them made it as MPs, a quarter of them elected for the first time.  But what sort of person did the voters elect, and how different are they to the people who voted for them?

Why we must focus on grassroots volunteers as a catalyst for lasting change in our communities

Debbie Ladds Chief ExecutiveLocal Trust

Most of us are aware of the diverse benefits that volunteering can have for us as individuals and for those we volunteer with. There is recognition of this from policy makers – take for example the Government’s views of Big Society and their recent pledge of three days paid volunteering leave in companies employing over 250 staff.

Liz Bayram

Childcare policy under the coalition government

Liz Bayram Chief ExecutiveProfessional Association for Childcare and Early Years

Before we look back on the last five years of coalition rule, it's worth considering that childcare didn't even become a political issue until the 1990s when the pre-school voucher scheme was first introduced.

Paul Connolly

Getting localism right

Paul Connolly DirectorMCA Think Tank

Localism is seen by many as the answer to almost every local government question. Yet localist theory should be tested to the limits, not least by its adherents, to ensure the theory can survive the following challenges in practice.

Martin Creswell

Why Demand Management is important to local government

Martin Creswell MemberMCA Think Tank

In a world where resources are constrained or reducing, organisations have the potential to either reduce their supply side costs or change the nature of demand in order to be sustainable and effective. Across the private sector we see many examples of how this has been achieved, for example on-line shopping, booking holidays etc.

Lekan Ojumu

Mind the gap – using community based initiatives to tackle educational inequality

Lekan Ojumu Sporteducate programme managerSported

In the UK there is a persistent gap in educational attainment between less advantaged pupils and those from more affluent families. If you are a pupil on free school meals (FSM) there is an attainment gap of 26.5% between you and your non-FSM counterpart in achieving an A*-C grade at GCSE Maths and English.

Emma Cornwall

Leadership: time for a culture of risk-taking and entrepreneurship

Emma Cornwall MemberMCA Think Tank

Risk-takers, entrepreneurs, commercially savvy, collaborative networkers, place shapers, visionary (but humble and authentic) leaders. Just add 'walk on water' and you have a pretty intimidating list of attributes that today's local government leaders are expected to have and display.

Neil Watkins

A tale of two campaigns: lobbying in an election year

Neil Watkins Parliamentary ResearcherWestminster

Barring some notable exceptions, it is already too late to meaningfully influence the current government. With both governing parties now seeking to establish political distance between one another, common ground has been harder to find and the stream of legislation has slowed to a trickle.

Mohammed Pervez

Sustainable growth in Stoke-on-Trent

Mohammed Pervez LeaderStoke on Trent City Council

You may have seen those images of the Stoke-on-Trent in the days when the industrial revolution was full steam ahead in the city: hundreds of distinctive brick bottle kilns pouring out the ceramic wealth of the potteries to fuel the demands of customers across the globe.

Liz Bayram

Focus on quality childcare should start with students

Liz Bayram Chief ExecutiveProfessional Association for Childcare and Early Years

Childcare professionals play a crucial role in supporting children and their families across the country and make a significant contribution to the modern economy.

Josie Cluer

Why do public sector programmes fail?

Josie Cluer Public Sector LeadMoorhouse Consultancy

Another week, another high profile public sector project in the news for failing to deliver.

Julia de Cadenet

Animal rights education for schools to help end animal abuse

Julia de Cadenet CEO/Legal Advisor

As a lawyer and founder of the UK charity World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade I have petitioned and rallied alongside other caring activists to lobby governments both at home and abroad. I spoke at the House of Commons on behalf of tortured dogs and cats and raised the issue at APGAW in December 2013.

Adele Parker

Security classifications - public sector responsibility

Adele Parker Head of CompliancePSNGB

The new Government Security Classification Policy came into force in April 2014. It includes very subtle changes that strengthen PSN as a platform for innovation and reform in public sector.

Paul Tomany

Public sector procurement under scrutiny

Paul Tomany Managing DirectorNorth Western Universities Purchasing Consortium

Over the past two years we have seen public sector procurement coming under increasing levels of scrutiny. It's hardly surprising. In an era of austerity it's one area that offers huge potential for greater efficiency with the added bonus of providing savings without the pain of job cuts.

Steve Malone

Government to become 'more thoughtful' procurement customer

Steve Malone Managing DirectorPfH

There was an encouraging message amid the fanfare surrounding the UK government's latest figures from its efficiency and reform programme.

Karen Grewcock

Serving up practical advice ahead of the provision of free school meals for under 8s

Karen Grewcock Head of Category Food and CateringESPO

A lack of catering staff, not enough dining room space and sourcing enough ingredients to triple the number of meals served per day are just some of the concerns currently facing headteachers as they look at how they're going to make best use of increased budgets to provide free school meals for the under 8s this year. Says Karen Grewcock, head of category food and catering, ESPO.

Grainia Long

Chancellor’s budget must tackle national housing crisis

Grainia Long Chief ExecutiveChartered Institute of Housing

Yesterday's house-building figures provided further confirmation, if any was needed, that we are a long way from tackling our national housing crisis.

Tom Gash

Decentralisation of political power: easier said than done

Tom Gash Director of ResearchInstitute for Government

Influential decision makers, including Ed Miliband and the IPPR have spoken out on the desperate need to give more power to citizens and communities, transferring power away from Westminster. 

Simon Bradley

Stringer's argument is 'poorly researched, unscientific and out of touch

Simon Bradley Frack Free Greater Manchester

It's always heartening to see one of our elected representatives stand up for something they believe in. But when their pseudo-scientific arguments fail to grasp what matters to the electorate, it's difficult to take them seriously.

Joe Levenson

Why are we failing to support bereaved people?

Joe Levenson Director of CommunicationsNational Council for Palliative Care (NCPC)

Every minute someone in Britain dies, and almost half of us say we've been bereaved in the last five years. Yet society's response before and after a death often falls short, which can make dealing with loss so much more difficult.

Helen Milner

Digital UK by 2015

Helen Milner Chief ExecutiveTinder Foundation

It was great to hear Francis Maude's commitment yesterday that by 2015, the UK will be the most digital government in the G8. The team at GDS has been doing great things in the quest to make services open, accessible and easy to use.

Liz Bayram

Early years education series: the danger of ‘schoolification’

Liz Bayram Chief ExecutiveProfessional Association for Childcare and Early Years

In the third article in our series on early years education, Liz Bayram – chief executive of the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years – discusses the erosion of fundamental aspects of EYFS

Janette Cook-Hannah

Early-years education series: Are our children ready to learn?

Janette Cook-Hannah HeadteacherHoly Family Catholic Primary School

This is the second article in our series on Early-years education. Here Janette Cook-Hannah, a Headteacher talks about how and when children are ready to learn and why getting that right can make all the difference. To see the first article in this series, click here.