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Local government today

February 2, 2011

A quick round-up of some interesting articles we’ve been reading in the office today.

All change in Liverpool? Earlier today we published the first of what we hope to become a rather interesting collection of articles that will chronicle some the changes occuring across local government over the next few years.

Thank you to Cllr Richard Kemp for getting the ball rolling – his post looks at what support Liverpool council will give to the enhanced role of the front line councillor in planning, licensing and service delivery matters and how, in the light of financial constraints, they will do it.

Media speculation about a double-dip recession must not become a self-fulfilling prophecy – a very strong piece on Conservative Home from Jonathan Isaby. Whilst the story focuses on the lack of media attention given to news that ‘manufacturing figures have offered some economic relief after new data showed activity growing at its fastest pace since records began 19 years ago’ it highlights a much deeper issue – that the media are quick to bounce on bad news, but much slower to broadcast the good.

A lot of speeches and events I’ve attended of late have discussed the necessity of local government to experiment and take more risks. If it does then some failure is an inevitability – whetting the appetite of news editors in the process. As Isaby argues though, now more than ever, we need the media to report the news responsibly.

Why www.police.uk is useless – aka the ‘oh look pretty maps!’ effect – The Telegraph’s data mapping reporter, Conrad Quilty-Harper gives a stabbing analysis of the limitations of the street crime maps released yesterday by the Home Office. Quilty-Harper’s comments pick up from the Mark Pack post we hosted on the local democracy blog last month – releasing data isn’t enough, information has to delivered in ways that enable individuals and communities to do something constructive with it.

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