Editor's Comment

11.04.17

A watershed moment in British politics

Source: PSE Apr/May 17

The government has now officially triggered Article 50, formally starting the process of Britain’s exit from the EU. How this will affect local government, the wider public sector and the Civil Service remains to be seen, but the likelihood of it being plain sailing with the enormity of the task ahead seems rather unlikely. 

It is, therefore, quite appropriate that in this edition of PSE Professor Chris Painter reflects on the profound changes that have taken place in the political environment since the EU Referendum vote in June last year. His thought-provoking analysis can be found on page 15. 

Another major change facing local government in the coming months is the move towards directly-elected mayors in some of the country’s biggest city-regions. In what represents a watershed moment in the development of devolution, the importance of these elections cannot and should not be underestimated. However, how many of the electorate know who their candidates are, what control and power mayors will wield and how important their vote is in the process? Alongside the LGiU and Electoral Commission, we discuss the importance of engaging voters and highlight where people can find out more about each of the mayoral elections taking place this May (page 29). 

Lord Kerslake gives us his take on the future of devolution deals in England (page 18); the Communities and Local Government Select Committee chair, Clive Betts, reflects on the chancellor’s new funding for social care (page 24); and the National Cyber Security Centre’s deputy director for digital government, Alison Whitney, discusses how the organisation will be working with the public sector to build a more safe and secure digital environment (page 56).

Another important focus area in this edition is that of equality in the workforce, and the need to highlight the fantastic work that many of our female leaders are doing to deliver service change.  An important event in May, The Peoples Powerhouse Conference, organised by the CEOs of Wigan and Doncaster councils, will provide a great platform for debate, as Luana Salles explains on page 36. 

One final order of business is that I would like to introduce readers to a new member of PSE’s editorial board: Carolyn Wilkins OBE, chief executive of Oldham Council. Her leadership experience, which recently resulted in her being named on the 2017 Northern Power Women Power List, will significantly help us in developing our editorial and content strategy going forward. Carolyn also writes for us on page 22 about the important role local government can play in empowering people to tell their own stories.

David Stevenson

Editor

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