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LGA conference comes at turbulent time for local government

The Local Government Association’s annual conference and exhibition, due to start tomorrow, is a vital opportunity for local government leaders to get together and discuss the challenges they face.

The event, which takes place from 5 to 7 July in Bournemouth, features speakers including communities secretary Greg Clark, National Infrastructure Commission chair Lord Adonis, and extremism minister Lord Ahmad, and debates on issues including finance, devolution, housing and health and social care.

It’s the first major local government event since Britain’s vote to leave the EU, which has sent shockwaves through the political establishment, leading to David Cameron announcing his resignation, followed today by Nigel Farage, and similar calls for the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn.

The unprecedented political events of the past 10 days have left the public sector on tenterhooks, waiting to see what the impact of Brexit will be.

However, it’s important that public sector leaders take the lead in planning both how they will adapt to these changes and ensure that existing services are still provided as far as possible.

That’s without even mentioning the other challenges already facing local government, such as the ongoing programme of devolution deals and increasing funding difficulties.

As Sir Jeremy Heywood, head of the civil service, put it in a letter to civil servants last week, “calm, integrity and commitment” is needed to deal with the opportunities and challenges of the next few years.

The LGA conference promises to be a lively and fascinating three days, that will hopefully allow local government leaders to access more support and new ideas for service reforms.

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