Tim's Council Diary: Learning from Others

7 Jul 2023
Jim Martin and Tim Prater at 2023 LGA Conference

This week was mainly at the LGA (Local Government Association) conference in Bournemouth.

This is a conference attended by Councillors from many authorities across the country (generally but not exclusively "lead" councillors) and also Chief Executives and other officers.

A team of four went from Folkestone and Hythe - Jim & Tim at our first LGA conference, and Connor and Susan, emphatically not.

Despite the hovering spectre of train strikes (actually that week an overtime ban that seemed to have little impact) we let the train take the strain, and the journey was a good chance to catch up. As at least all three Councillors have railcards too, we saved some money there!

The conference itself was a variety of group meetings, training / presentation sessions, speeches (I'm politically obliged to say Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey gave an excellent speech on Thursday, and am happy to, as I think he did) and social events in the evening.

It's a great chance to network and speak to Councillors and officers from loads of other places looking for their examples of things to do, and things not to do. There is a *huge* exhibition of organisations selling opportunity to councils, with, like most exhibitions, those opportunities ranging from "sounds great" to "avoid". The key is working out which is which...

We left Thursday, and made it back to Folkestone in time for a nice quiet night in Finance Scrutiny Sub-Committee. I'm not a member of that, but as Cabinet member for Finance wanted to see what they thought about the Finance outturn papers and Annual Review of 22-23, prior to those papers going to Cabinet the following week.

I listened, appreciated their scrutiny and advice, and (spoiler alert) accepted every one of their suggestions and recommendations and Cabinet the following week. I'm sure that won't be the case every meeting, but it's great to see Scrutiny and Executive working together to improve the ways we work. It's the way it should be, and hopefully will be...

Larry Ngan and Lib Dem Campaigners on The Leas, Folkestone

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Larry Ngan, Daniel and Fry with "Build More Houses" t-shirt on The Leas, Folkestone

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