On BBC Question Time last night, I put the point forward that at a time of national crisis, party politics should be put aside to focus on the best solution.
With six weeks to go, Barnier's deal failed and with an amendment to renegotiate, the Conservatives have decided to reach out to others to rescue the situation at the last minute - or even perhaps, just share the blame. The LGA has taken a cross-party approach right from the outset, including meetings with the relevant ministers. On BBC Question Time last night, I put the point forward that at a time of national crisis, party politics should be put aside to focus on the best solution.
Also topical was homelessness as the latest figures show a 2 per cent reduction since last year, possibly reversing the trend of the past 10 years where rough sleeping has increased by 165 per cent. The figures have been disputed and some areas are certainly still on the increase. Councils are working hard with more temporary and permanent accommodation, early intervention and working on prevention of homelessness. Council teams, including professionals in mental health, substance abuse professionals, social care workers and PCSOs, are certainly doing some good work.
I represented you and the LGA this week at the Women In Local Government Conference, sharing a platform with Dame Jane Roberts and Dame Margaret Hodge looking at the equality and the important role of women in local government. We looked at raising the profile of our members in leadership positions, negotiating what we need to be effective leaders and changing cultures to be more inclusive and respectful.
Congratulations to the fifth cohort of the Independent Next Generation three-weekend development programme. It is a very good way of becoming ever more effective. We covered public speaking last time and this time, we looked at debating and managing difficult and hostile conversations. If you would like to take part in the next one, please let us know.
Good luck in all your election preparations and your work in our councils and our communities.