Weekly media round-up 14/05/16 – 20/05/16

This week has seen 474 LGA mentions in national, regional, trade, broadcast and online publications including 26 LGA mentions in national newspapers, broadcast and online articles.

GP groups ‘overlooking local end-of-life care needs'

Friday 20 May

Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder Cllr Izzi Seccombe gave the LGA's response on Mail Online to a report by charity Hospice UK, which claimed that GP groups and councils across England are failing to plan for the needs of dying people. It used the Freedom of Information Act to find out how well councils and NHS groups assessed the needs of dying people in their communities. More than a third (34 per cent) of health and wellbeing boards, which are run by councils, do not consider the needs of dying people in their assessments of local needs. Cllr Seccombe said: "Ensuring a dying person receives high quality end-of-life care that is dignified and reflects their wishes is an absolute priority for councils, and we recognise the incredible work that hospices do in the community. End-of-life care is becoming increasingly significant for health and social care services, as more people now choose to die at home or in a care home than a hospital. Health and wellbeing boards reflect the key local issues of their population, and many have priorities that focus on prevention and management of potentially life-limiting conditions, as well as working with partners to improve end-of-life care."

Mail Online


Queen's Speech: Adoption law reform aims to speed up placements

Thursday 19 May

Children and Young People Board Chairman Cllr Roy Perry featured on BBC Online, with the LGA's response to the Children and Social Work Bill and Education For All Bills respectively which were announced in the Queen's Speech. The former set out plans to reduce delays in placing children with an adoptive family, while the latter will encourage all schools in England to become academies. The LGA reiterated that it remained opposed to any forced academisation. Cllr Perry said: "Hundreds of schools, often in disadvantaged areas, are being turned around thanks to the intervention of local councils, highlighting that they should be regarded as education improvement partners rather than as a barrier to change."

BBC Online
LGA media release
LGA media release


Queen's Speech: Government broadband plans are 'not ambitious enough'

Thursday 19 May

Telegraph Online reported the LGA's call for the universal minimum broadband speed to rise in line with the national average to ensure areas are not left too far behind, in response to the Digital Economy Bill announcement in the Queen's Speech. Businesses have criticised the minimum 10 megabits per second broadband speed as "not ambitious enough". The Institute of Directors said the new legal right, announced as part of a package of government measures to boost internet structure, was rapidly being outpaced by the growing demand for data from both business and families.

Telegraph Online
LGA media release


Queen's Speech: Homeowners lose in new rules on seizing property

Thursday 19 May

The LGA's lines about how the planning system is not a barrier to development were reported in the Times, in their coverage of the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill unveiled in the Queen's Speech. The Bill includes a proposal to ensure that land and homes which are seized under compulsory purchase orders are only compensated at today's market value of the property, rather than a speculative future value. The LGA said the streamlined rules for seizing property and land would make it easier for councils to purchase land.

Times p8
LGA media release


Number of pupils missing school for unauthorised family holidays has risen by 12% in a year

Thursday 19 May

Mail Online referenced the LGA's recent response to the High Court ruling in favour of a father who took his daughter on holiday in term time, following an increase in the number of pupils missing school for unauthorised family holidays in the past year. The LGA has called for rules to be changed to give head teachers greater flexibility to allow parents to take their children on holiday during term time.

Mail Online
LGA media release


The cost of mental illness

Tuesday 17 May

Deputy Chair of the Community Wellbeing Portfolio Cllr Gillian Ford was quoted in a piece on Guardian Online about how health and wellbeing boards are tackling mental illness. Mental illness is estimated to cost the UK economy as much as £100 billion a year in terms of healthcare, lost jobs, unemployment benefits, homelessness support, police time and prisoner places. Cllr Ford said: "There have to be robust conversations with health providers as to how budgets are going to be drawn together to deliver integrated care and support. Local authorities are doing their level best to deliver on all fronts."

Guardian Online


Parents step up cheating for places at best schools

Sunday 15 May

Cllr Richard Watts, Children and Young People Vice Chair featured in the Sunday Times about the increasing competition for good-quality school places, following Freedom of Information requests to councils which showed more almost 200 parents were caught last year providing false addresses to get their children into the highest performing schools. Tactics used by parents included listing grandparents' or business addresses. Cllr Watts said: "Everyone wants their child in a school where they can be happy, safe and reach their full potential. However, there are cases where this is not possible with the increasing competition for good-quality school places."

Sunday Times p9


'Lethal' bootleg cigarettes flood UK

Saturday 14 May

Safer and Stronger Communities Board Chair Cllr Simon Blackburn was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live about the LGA's release on how efforts to reduce smoking are being undermined by the black market in illegal tobacco, which was also reported on BBC Radio 2, LBC, Times, i paper, Express, Mirror, Sun, Mail, ITV Online and Sky News Online. Millions of cheap, illegal cigarettes containing up to 500 per cent higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals are flooding the black market, which are being regularly seized by councils. In addition to the significant health and fire risks posed by fake cigarettes, they also cost the UK economy more than £2 billion a year in unpaid duty. Cllr Blackburn said: "Illegal tobacco being sold cheaply through the black market by rogue traders is funding organised criminal gangs, damaging legitimate traders and robbing the tax payer of more than £2 billion that could be spent on schools, hospitals and caring for the elderly. Trading standards teams at councils nationwide will continue to carry out enforcement exercises that target rogue traders and help to protect the health of children and young people."

Cllr Simon Blackburn on BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 2, LBC news bulletins
Times p28

Mirror p15
Mail p27
ITV Online
Sky News Online
i paper p20
Sun p34
Express p17
LGA media release


High court backs father who refused to pay fine for term-time holiday

Saturday 14 May

The LGA's response to the High Court ruling in favour of a father who refused to pay a fine for taking his daughter on holiday in term time was reported in the Guardian, BBC Online, Sun Online, Mirror, Mail, Times, Telegraph and FT. Magistrates ruled that Jon Platt had no case to answer, as his daughter's attendance was over 90 per cent, indicating that she attended regularly. Isle of Wight Council had asked the High Court to clarify whether a seven-day absence amounted to a child failing to attend regularly. The Department for Education said that it would now consider changing the law, stating that "children's attendance is non-negotiable." The LGA said the DfE's blanket ban was not working, and said: "There has to be a sensible solution whereby every family has the option to spend time together when they choose to, rather than tying families to set holiday periods. While councils fully support the DfE's stance on every child being in school every day, there are occasions when parental requests should be given individual consideration and a common sense approach applied."

Guardian p1
BBC Online
Sun Online
Mirror p1
Mail p1
Telegraph p1
FT p4
Times p1
LGA media release

20 May 2016