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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Laird

Radical Reformers ep.74: Empowering local public services with Rob Whiteman

This episode is with Rob Whiteman, the Chief Executive of CIPFA. Rob is a very thoughtful and influential commentator on local government and public service reform. He has had a hugely interesting and varied career including stints as Chief Executive at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and at the UK Border Agency (UKBA).

Rob was at Barking and Dagenham when the BNP won an unprecedented number of council seats and he describes how the council worked to reengage with local communities to push back against some of the dangerous propaganda which had led to this election outcome. The learning from this is very relevant for council leaders today as many of our communities are becoming increasingly polarised. As the former head of UKBA, Rob also provides some historical context and contemporary commentary on the small boats crisis.

We spend most of our time talking about the state of local government and the main drivers for the financial crisis the sector finds itself facing. We discuss what the solutions could be including a return of a more radical version of Total Place, more collaboration between councils on issues like children’s social care and the potential of enhanced powers for Mayoral Combined Authorities.

I also ask a new question “What would you do it you were Prime Minister for a day?”. Rob has a pretty radical answer!

Enjoy it!


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