The Local Society seminar, organised by Involve, Urban Forum and Local Government Leadership, took place on 4 February 2011. The event brought together leaders from across sectors local government, central government, civil society and business – who are changing the way public services are delivered, and public needs are met.
A wide-ranging and frank discussion explored the implications of localism and the Big Society, responsibility for strategic thinking at a local level, issues of accountability and risk, and the organisational, societal and economic changes that are needed to reconfigure the relationship between citizen and state.
The main purpose of the seminar was to bring together new thinking, develop ideas, to inform emerging next practise on localism and public sector reform through ideas and experience of those leading the field, and to explore how councils and councillors should be involved at the core of the changing relationship between citizen and the state
The current financial situation demands creativity and a preparedness to think in new ways, so unsurprisingly some of the discussion was theoretical in nature. However, the lead taken by participants on the day – those actually putting these changes into practice – ensured feet stayed very firmly on the ground!
The discussion was informed and challenged by the input of six provocateurs, a small number of guests who were asked to prepare short contributions to provoke and stimulate discussion on the day.