In my time in Local Goverment House I have heard many people talking about the Smith Square debates and how interesting they are, but I confess I have never quite found the time to get to one ...
Last night I resolved to change that and hot-footed it to what turned out to be a great discussion and debate about what local government needs to do to drive economic growth.
Of course, there was much acknowledgement of the reality of the constraints under which local authorities operate (legislative, financial etc); but what I found most interesting was the emergence of a theme around maturing relationships and acceptance of responsibility. Local government has job to do around being the grown up/mature partner to central government and conversely central government must be ready to accept local government as more of an equal in the relationship.
Below is a Wordle made up of tweets on the night using the #lgadebates hashtag and also from a round-up provided by the LGA's public affairs team.
The next debate sounds like a great one: Legislative social care reform is meaningless without the funding – Time for the Chancellor to show us the money? and I will be definitely going along.
You can join me there or online - @lgacomms will be live reporting or follow the #lgadebates hashtag.