Last week, Agence France Locale had their first Conseil d’orientation stratégique in Paris. The agenda included discussions about ethics and accountability, communication, studies and training in financial matters, and international cooperation. Mme Lebranchu, Minister for Decentralisation and the Civil Service joined us in the closing of the meeting and expressed her support for the agency. She said: “You have not only managed to create this Agency in record time, but you also helped restore the image of local authorities. This Agency is a tool for trust between the state and the local authorities.”
Jacques Pélissard, former Chairman of the Association des Maires de France and one of the founding members of Agence France Locale, Mme Lebranchu, Minister for Decentralisation and Civil Service and Lars M Andersson
From Paris I went to London for meeting with, among others, Commonwealth Local Government Forum and Local Government Association. Furthermore, I met with Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Board, and Aidan Brady, CEO of UK Municipal Bond Agency. They gave me an update of the activities of the agency and showed me their new offices.
UK Municipal Bond Agency’s offices located next to Westminster Abbey
Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the UK Local Government Association [link], writes about the relationship between local and central government in The Guardian, October 15. He argues that ‘fundamental changes’ are needed in this relationship to make it possible for local government to deliver the best services they can to their communities. Sir Merrick writes about the ‘localism’ involved in devolving central power as a way to delivering growth in a UK hard hit by the economic crisis. Local solutions could provide a way forward, national schemes for fighting the present problems do not take crucial local conditions into account. The article makes a passionate plea for increased local autonomy; bolstering what is already ‘widely regarded as the most efficient and increasingly, most innovative part of the public sector’. Read Sir Merrick’s interesting article in full here [link].