Weekly media round-up 03/09/16 – 09/09/16

This week has seen 1,349 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 41 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles. 

Drug-related deaths reach record levels in England and Wales

Friday 9 September

The LGA's statement responding to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics about the number of drug-related deaths in 2015 was reported on BBC Online, Mail Online, Guardian Online and Independent Online. Community Wellbeing Board Chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe said councils were committed to helping to ensure drug users got support for treatment, and were spending more on drug and alcohol treatment than in any other area of public health. She added: "However, with public health grants for local authorities being cut by 9 per cent over the next four years... no service is immune from spending reductions, which could seriously undermine our efforts to prevent all kinds of major health conditions."

BBC Online
Mail Online
Guardian Online
Independent Online
LGA media release

 

Labour's city chiefs on leadership race

Friday 9 September

Senior Vice Chair and Labour group leader Cllr Nick Forbes featured in the Guardian in a piece about the Labour Party leadership race.

Guardian p14

 

Private agencies' tactics over fostering criticised

Thursday 8 September

The Telegraph reported the LGA's release calling for the Government to ban "golden hellos" used by independent fostering agencies to entice foster carers away from local authorities, which contributes to the increasing cost of fostering services. An independent review also found that eight commercial fostering agencies made £41 million in profits in 2014/15.

Telegraph p2
LGA media release

 

Flood defence plan anticipates extreme rainfall

Thursday 8 and Friday 9 September

The LGA's response to the publication of the Government's National Flood Resilience Review was reported in the Guardian, BBC Online and Mirror Online. The review, commissioned after last winter's severe flooding, commits a total of £12.5 million to fund new temporary flood defences in England. Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Environment spokesman, said the funding was a "step in the right direction" but warned councils will need "significantly more support" to help prepare for and recover from any future flooding. He added: "Funding for flood defences must also be devolved to local areas. This will enable councils, working with communities and businesses, to ensure money is directed towards projects that best reflect local needs."

Guardian p11
BBC Online
Mirror Online
LGA media release

 

Academisation has no long-term effect on GCSE results, research suggests

Wednesday 7 September

Guardian Online reported the LGA's previous press release about how council maintained schools continue to outperform academies. Converting struggling schools into sponsored academies may improve GCSE results initially but appears to have no long-term effect on attainment, according to research by the London School of Economics in partnership with the Education Policy Institute. They found GCSE grades rose in the years before and after conversion. After that, however, GCSE performance dropped back and continued to fall over the next three years until improvement was "back to zero" by the fourth year of being an academy. Earlier analysis by the LGA found that 86 per cent of local authority schools were rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, compared with 82 per cent of academies and 79 per cent of free schools.

Guardian Online
LGA media release

 

'Gloating' SEN tweets law firm Baker Small paid millions

Wednesday 7 September

Children and Young People Board Chair Cllr Richard Watts featured on BBC Online with the LGA's lines on funding for SEN children, in a story about a law firm used by councils in tribunals. Cllr Watts said he understood the pressure on parents with SEN children, but added a "lack of funding means there's real pressure on councils".

BBC Online

 

Suitable accommodation of homeless 16 and 17-year olds

Wednesday 7 September 

The LGA was mentioned on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live news bulletins in a report about councils providing suitable accommodation for homeless 16 and 17-year-olds.

 

Doctors urged to offer ‘exercise outdoors' prescriptions

Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 September 

Community Wellbeing board member Cllr Jonathan McShane was interviewed live on Good Morning Britain about the LGA's press release calling on GPs to prescribe exercise outdoors to patients, in a bid to get people doing more physical activity. CWB Chairman Cllr Izzi Seccombe was also interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live  and across BBC local radio stations and the LGA's lines reported on BBC Radio 2 and LBC news bulletins. Deputy Chairman Cllr Peter Fleming was also interviewed on BBC Breakfast  with coverage also in the Sun, Mirror, Mail Online, Express Online and BBC Online. Cllr Seccombe, said: "There are some instances where rather than prescribing a pill, advising on some type of moderate physical activity outdoors could be far more beneficial to the patient. There are already some good examples where this is being piloted in the UK and it is something we should consider on a nationwide basis."

Cllr Seccombe on BBC Radio 5 Live
Cllr Fleming on BBC Breakfast
Cllr McShane on Good Morning Britain
BBC Radio, LBC news bulletins
Sun p6
Mirror p2
Mail Online (Tuesday)
Mail Online (Wednesday)
Express Online
BBC Online
LGA media release

 

Check your child's eye health

Tuesday 6 September

Good Morning Britain broadcast the LGA's statement responding to their research that some local authorities do not provide vision screening for four and five year olds. The programme claimed tens of thousands of children are not being tested, putting their sight at risk. A spokesman for the LGA said: "Following significant reductions in public health budgets, councils are having to review what services they can provide with non-statutory ones, such as eye screening, in some cases proving hard to sustain. However, this isn't a new problem. Councils only took responsibility for eye tests in October 2015. Historically the NHS delivered less than 60 per cent of eye tests when it had responsibility for them. Parents can help ensure their child has their vision screened by taking them regularly to any high street optician for a free and thorough eye test by a trained optometrist. Many councils are moving to implement the recommendations of the UK National Screening Committee."

Good Morning Britain

 

'Living Rent' should be central to Tory housing policy, says thinktank

Sunday 4 September

The LGA's call for councils to be able to replace sold homes and reinvest in building more genuinely affordable homes was reported on Guardian Online. The think-tank Renewal called on Theresa May to launch a huge revival of government-funded house-building by constructing 75,000 homes a year for rent by low-paid workers. This followed a call by the LGA for a "national renaissance" in council house-building. The LGA had previously warned: "The shortage of houses in this country is a top concern for people who are finding that buying their first house is increasingly out of reach. If we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis, councils must be able to replace sold homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need now more than ever.

Guardian Online
Sun p18
LGA media release

 

Pay £120 for blazer at top state school

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September

The Mail and People reported the LGA's lines on the rising cost of school uniforms, following parents being targeted by a loan company with rates as high as 200 per cent. The LGA warned that the costs could deter less well-off families. Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, Cllr Richard Watts, said: "Every year we hear of some schools insisting that parents buy a wide range of compulsory items, from branded blazers to specific socks. This can push the overall cost of a uniform and PE kit into hundreds of pounds and for many families, that is simply too much. People should never be worried about applying to the best school because they're worried about the cost of the uniform."

Mail p20
People p28

 

Syrian refugee places for 20,000 'secured' in UK

Saturday 3, Sunday 4 and Monday 5 September

Asylum, Refugee and Migration Task Group Chairman, Cllr David Simmonds was interviewed on BBC Breakfast, BBC News channel, BBC Radio 5 Live and LBC, with the LGA's response to the Government's announcement that 20,000 local authority places required to resettle Syrian refugees by 2020 had been secured. The LGA's lines were also reported in the Mail and the Sunday Telegraph,  Mail Online, Express Online, Independent Online, BBC Online and ITV Online. Cllr Simmonds said: "We have previously said that we were confident in ensuring there were sufficient places to support the Government's pledge to resettle 20,000 people by 2020 and the focus must now be on ensuring families are matched to the right placements and that they arrive safely and are well supported."

Cllr Simmonds on BBC Breakfast, BBC News, BBC Radio 5 Live and LBC
Mail p10
Sunday Telegraph p6
Mail Online
Express Online
Independent Online
BBC Online
ITV Online
LGA media release


12 September 2016