Here are the minutes of the DCN’s Assembly held at the LGA Conference in Harrogate on 1st July 2015. The Rt Hon Greg Clark, MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government gave the keynote address.
Here are the presentations from the DCN Networking Event for Chief Executives held at Local Government House in London on 11th June 2015
The DCN hosted a successful event on Wednesday 1 April which explored:
- Interface between LEPs & Districts on planning for growth and infrastructure – including Local Plans, Strategic Economic Plans & City Deals
- Government guidance and policy on such matters
- Roles of District LPAs and Economic Development functions in the work of LEPS and vice versa – and how Counties fit in
- Experience around the country, looking at:
- Governance arrangements and decision making by Members
- How different boundaries (functional economic areas, housing market areas, political control) are being dealt with
- Links between funding programmes/ bids and local plans
- Duty to Cooperate – LEPs, local plans and Strategic Planning
- Shared approaches on evidence to support plans/ bids
- Combined Authorities in the mix
You can view a copy of the presentations from the day here:
The Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator for health and care in England, has published a series of new guides to support closer working between its inspection teams and councillors in scrutiny and executive functions of local government. The guides are published jointly with the Centre for Public Scrutiny and have been developed with local government councillors and officers working at every level of local government.
The three guides are:
The District Councils’ Network have responded to the consultation on speeding up negotiations on section 106 planning obligations. You can view our full response here:
The District Councils’ Network have responded to the consultation on building more homes on brownfield land. A full copy of our response can be viewed here:
Here are the minutes from the DCN Assembly held at Local Government House on 27th January 2015
The DCN responded to the Governments call for representation on the Budget and Autumn Statement 2015. Our response can be viewed here:
The DCN has submitted a response to the DCLG’s consultaion on the next steps to zero carbon homes and the proposals for small sites exemptions.
Click to view the full DCN response
Below is the District Councils’ Network newsletter for December 2014. It includes an update on all DCN work over the last couple of months along with other useful updates and events coming up in the next few months.
If you would like to subscribe to receive future editions please visit our home page.
The DCN has submitted a response to DCLGs right to build consultation.
The District Councils’ Network (DCN) has commissioned INLOGOV at the University of Birmingham to research the ways in which districts councils have adopted new ways of working with their partners. This will build on recent documents published including NLGN’s ‘As Tiers go by’ as well as the CCNs document ‘Our Plan for Government’.
As we are all aware the public sector in England is facing unprecedented financial pressure and is likely to continue to face increasing demand for services alongside reduced central government funding, whatever the outcome of the 2015 general election. At the same time, following the referendum on independence for Scotland, there is the ongoing debate about devolution and an “English settlement” around the control of local expenditure on public services and local governance.
While much of that debate is focused on the core cities, district councils are both local enough to respond to the needs of citizens while operating at sufficient scale to be efficient. They provide locally based building blocks which function around community needs and recognisable economic geographies.
With the likely continuation of significant public sector spending cuts, there will be an increasing and accelerated pressure upon both Local Government and other public sector agencies to deliver joined-up and transformed services in innovative ways. These approaches include working with Local Economic Partnerships; collaborating across two tier areas on healthcare, housing and welfare reform; community safety responsibilities, and addressing public sector financial sustainability.
We want this research to be evidence based and identify examples where district councils have adopted new ways of working with their partners to strengthen their local leadership for their communities, deliver savings and better outcomes. To achieve this we need your help. This is your chance to showcase your district council and for us to demonstrate the vital role that district councils can and do play now and in the future of local government.
The first ‘ call for evidence‘ from INLOGOV has now been issued. Please complete the online survey giving us details of what your district is doing to; share your learning with other areas and so that we can demonstrate to Government that districts are innovating and collaborating to achieve better outcomes and savings.
The deadline for responses is Friday 16 January 2015.
The DCN has submitted a response to the interim report of the Finance Commission.
On Tuesday 25 November the DCN held an event on fracking. There were presentations from Edward Hough and Andrew Bloodworth from the British Geological Survey, Alex Doyle from Department of Energy and Climate Change and Nick Clack from Campaign to Protect Rural England. Copies of all the presentations are here:
If you missed our fracking event PAS have some events coming up over the next few months:
Manchester 3rd December
Horsham 16th January
Bath 26th January
On Monday 24 November the DCN held its event ‘An effective future for districts and police and crime commissioners’. It included presentations from; 2 PCC’s – Matthew Ellis and Paddy Tipping; Jonny Bugg from the Home Office; Mark Norris from the LGA and a discussion panel made up of Councillor Lewis Rose and Councillor Michael Payne. Here are copies of presentations from the day.
The DCN recently submitted a response to the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee to its inquiry looking at the future of devolution in the United Kingdom, in the light of the referendum result. You can view our full written response here:
The District Councils’ Network recently held its Autumn Assembly on 30 October 2014. Speakers include the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, Minister for Cities, Science and Universities, who spoke about Growth Deals, districts and LEPs. We heard from Alex Pratt, Chair of the LEP Network, who spoke about the district role in LEPs, and from Tony Curtis, District Chief Executive Adviser to the Non-Metropolitan Commission, who updated those present on the work of the Commission and the findings of its Interim Report.
The minutes and presentations from the day can be found below.
Following the District Councils’ Network publication Our Priorities for Improving the Planning System a discussion paper has been produced. This builds on the ideas set out in the original publication and sets out the DCN’s thinking on two themes:
- Facilitating joint strategic planning, and
- Staged local plan examination
These themes are highlighted to help with the implementation of the ‘Duty to cooperate’. We wish to influence debate and work with Government to improve the Local Plan process to help deliver the growth that our communities need. You can download the paper here:
The DCN has submitted a response to DEFRA’s consultation on the future of sustainable drainage systems. DCN’s view is that one organisation needs to assume responsibility and we have raised concerns about the suggested use of the planning system to cover the enforcement and maintenance side of SuDS.
You can view the full DCN SuDs consultation response here.
The DCN has responded to the CQC Consultation on giving care homes performance ratings, to help individuals make informed decisions.
You can read the response in full here: CQC ratings consultation
The DCN have responded to the local government finance settlement 2015 – 16 technical consultation. This is not a detailed response on the specific questions posed in the consultation paper however there were a number of issues / principles that the DCN wanted to comment on.
You can view the full response here:
The DCN has submitted a response to the DCLG’s Technical Planning Consultation. They were seeking views on proposals to streamline the planning system focusing on 6 areas; neighbourhood planning; reduced planning regulations to support housing, high streets and growth; improving the use of planning conditions, planning application process improvements; environmental impact assessment thresholds and improving the nationally significant infrastructure regime.
You can read the response in full here:
In the last few years we have seen some significant reforms to the town and country planning system, including the 2011 Localism Act and the 2012 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). These reforms led to a change of approach including in plan making, to planning decisions as well as how councils work with partners and their communities. During early 2014, the DCN held events for members to feedback their first hand experience and how the system could be improved. This publication lays out the problems identified and the DCN’s priorities for how the planning system can be improved.
The DCN has submitted evidence to the latest County APPG Inquiry into Integrated Care and Support. Our response discusses integration and the Care Act, and proposes the inclusion of a housing representative on Health and Wellbeing Boards.
You can read the response in full here:
In light of the DCN attending the Public Health England Annual Conference to showcase the work of district councils in public health, and talk with Heath and Wellbeing Board Chairs, public health consultants, and Directors of Public Health about the contribution district councils play, the DCN has refreshed its major publication District Action on Public Health. The publication has been split into its component parts, and the content revised to reflect that public health has been with local government now for two years, with the case studies have been updated accordingly. The guides have an external audience in mind, so we hope they will be as useful at the local level and well as within district councils.
In addition, we have produced a guide for Directors of Public Health in two-tier areas about the contribution district councils make, and the possible areas for collobaration. Feel free to use this with your own Director of Public Health.
District Action on Public Health – short guides:
The District Councils’ Network has submitted a response to the government on its consultation regarding the Guidance for the Care Act. Our response sets out the role district councils play in health and wellbeing more widely, as well as specifically in regards to housing. We give examples of positive two-tier working and set out the areas we would like further clarification from government.
The response can be read in full here: Care Act Guidance Final Consultation Response
The DCN has responded to The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance. The commission is tasked with making recommendations for the reform of local government finance and find better ways to fund local services and promote economic growth in England.
You can read our full response here:
The DCN have conducted a follow-up to the survey produced in partnership with the Society of District Council Treasurers (SDCT) in September 2013 on Local Council Tax Support Schemes (LCTS) at English District Councils. This survey examines changes made by Districts to their 2014/15 schemes, collection rates and parish grants.
The survey demonstrates a positive picture for District Councils; with collection rates appearing not be impacted by the introduction of local schemes. The majority of districts are not currently planning to make major technical changes going forward.
See below for a copy of the survey and a summary note on the results.
The LGA has launched a Commission into the future of public services and economic growth in non-metropolitan England. District councils are part of non-metropolitan England.
The DCN, after surveying our members, has submitted this evidence to the Commission.