LGA Smith Square debates are all about lively debate. They take place at Local Government House, in the heart of Westminster, and go to the heart of policy and political discussion.

These debates, held in the spring and autumn each year, last for one hour and take an informal ‘Question Time'-style format. They are designed to generate diverse discussion through a variety of panellists with differing views. They are also designed to be very interactive – each panellist is given a maximum of only five minutes to put forward their position. The forum is then opened to attendees for comments and questions to which the panellists will be invited to respond and engage in debate.

The LGA has been holding a regular series of evening debates for a number of years now. Smith Square debates are free to attend and are lively affairs, tackling current critical policy issues and attracting an audience of MPs, council leaders, chief executives, charities, think tanks, specialist service providers and journalists.

Below you will find coverage of the latest debates.

Autumn 2013

The big debate: Can local public services be rewired?

A summary of the lively debate from 27 November 2013. Chaired by Mayor Dorothy Thornhill panelists included Ben Page, chief executive of IpsosMORI, Sir Merrick Cockell, Andy Sawford MP and Rt Hon John Redwood MP.