From investing billions each year into making local economies thrive, to safeguarding and caring for the elderly and vulnerable, to providing frontline services for 26million people, Your County Matters

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Welcome to the Your County Matters blog.

 

Here, you'll find regular posts from local government experts and CCN on all the big issues and talking points facing county authorities.

By CCN, May 3 2017 10:31AM


Normally, they have a low profile in the media and when they are talked about it’s often as a proxy for national politics: a way of measuring the strength of Government and opposition in Parliament. But of course they are a vitally important in their own right. Councils are a fundamental part of British democracy, providing the essential services that citizens rely on every single day. Indeed most of the services we care about most on a day-to-day basis are delivered by local, not national, government.


This year’s local elections in 27 county councils and five county unitary authorities represent the single biggest set of English local elections in any single year. From care services for the elderly, to maintaining local roads, to supporting local growth county councils and county unitaries are delivering services that are key to most to people’s lives, which is why it matters so much that voters are able to make informed choices when choosing their council representatives.


And, with many councils up and down the country facing their biggest budget cuts in the last decade, the stakes couldn’t be higher in this year’s local elections.


At LGiU, we know democracy works best when the public has easily accessible information about local elections and candidates. So as well as looking out for the green shoots of a Liberal Democrat resurgence, watching how well UKIP perform post the EU referendum and assessing the fortunes of the Conservative and Labour parties at this point in the electoral cycle, we will be “Out for the Count,” observing and analysing what these elections mean for local government and the implications the results will have for communities across the UK.


So much of what local government provides goes beyond bin collection and street lighting. When the public vote on 4 May it will be to decide who will run their services, make the decisions that will impact their lives, whether or not their family will receive adequate care in old age, allocate places for schools or work to improve the economic outlook of their local area.


That deserves a higher profile than it generally receives and citizens deserve more information about who they are voting for and what that vote might mean.


The more engagement we have with local elections, the stronger our democracy will be.


Jonathan Carr-West

Chief Executive

Local Government Information Unit (LGiU)



By CCN, Apr 10 2017 01:31PM

Welcome to the Your County Matters microsite designed to support the County Councils Network’s cross-party campaign.


Launched last year, Your County Matters aims to illustrate the importance of county authorities and communities they represent.


Across England, the country’s 37 county councils and county unitary authorities are the strong, local institutions that matter to local people, delivering the majority of frontline local government services and working across local partners to reform public services.



They represent some 25million people, which is equivalent to just a shade under half of the total population.


With the vast majority of these people eligible to vote on May 4 in the local elections, now is an important time to show why counties matter.


CCN’s Your County Matters campaign is condensed into three key themes: Your County Works, Thrives, and Cares.


Above all, these themes convey why counties are the crucial form of local government in England, delivering the services that matter most to residents: streetlighting, road maintenance, libraries, child protection services, school places, and social care.


Equally, counties are crucial on a national scale too.


County economies matter; they already contain the majority of the country’s jobs in key sectors such as construction, motor trades, and manufacturing, as well as collectively being responsible for 41% England’s economic output.


Yet county areas are not without their challenges too: they contain lower than average productivity levels and are home to a housing market that is increasingly becoming unfordable for young people.


With this Government resting the success of its domestic economic policies on improving regional productivity through a ‘placed-based’ industrial strategy, they must seize on the potential of county authorities to drive local economic growth and deliver devolution at size and scale across appropriate geographies.


Our cross-party campaign has also highlighted that Counties are the lowest-funded local authorities, and face particular challenges in delivering complex services in rural locations.


With full business rates retention just around the corner, Government has recognised the need to review the way councils are funded, announcing a need-based review of local government resources. This campaign works across all our member councils to understand the unique pressures facing county authorities and secure a fair funding deal for our member councils.


This microsite will be regularly updated with new case studies (following county elections) showcasing the best of counties, as well as fresh materials and infographics to download and support our advocacy. We will also host blog posts from key experts and partners from the local government world, while our media section provides a round-up of key Your County Matters coverage from the past few months.



And with county elections taking place in 32 of our member councils, we are pleased to announce that the Your County Matters campaign will play an important part in the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) Out for the Count local election coverage. More information on this can be found here.


We hope you enjoy the new site and please feel free to leave some feedback!




Simon Edwards, director of the County Councils Network


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