Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the LGA, shares his thoughts about this year's conference and the LGA's campaigns.
I was pleased to be able to speak at the NCAS Conference last week. The conference threw the spotlight on a number of key issues for local government, one of which was fairer schools funding. As you know, the LGA has been campaigning for some time to secure fairer funding in this area. I am therefore pleased to inform you that as a direct result of campaigning by councils, the LGA and other partners, the Government has pledged to review its arrangements and will make further changes in 2014/15 after it has assessed the impact the changes will have on schools. This is a welcome development and the Government's pledge to review these proposals and the extension of the Minimum Funding Guarantee beyond 2014/15 shows that the Government has heard some of our concerns about the potential impact on schools. However, the Government still has a way to go in order to deliver a fair funding system to avoid a financial crisis for our schools. Councils have the democratic mandate to promote and protect the interests of local children, young people, and their families. As well as ensuring an adequate supply of schools, we have a statutory duty to promote educational excellence in our local areas, and a central role in both challenging and supporting schools that are underperforming. It is therefore critical that the funding landscape reflects local authorities' role in it and we will continue to push for a fairer funding formula. On another of those key issues, social care, our Show Us You Care campaign continues. If you haven't yet downloaded our campaign pack, then you can do so from our campaign webpages.
I would urge you to join our campaign, which is pressing Government to ensure the future of the social care system and address the current funding problem. If you are campaigning on this in your local area please let us know what success you have had, and if you're tweeting about your activity we've set up the hash tag #LGCares to bring all our campaigning work together.