This years Spring Conference is taking place in Blackpool and started off with a study tour looking at regeneration issues around Blackpool and what the Council has done to solve these issues.
The main conference itself started with an introduction from Sir Jeremy Beecham, followed by the daughter of the Lord Mayor of Manchester who introduced Tony Blair.
Tony Blair’s speech started off with a bit of a reflection on what the first parliamentary party in 1906 would think of things now, with the comments from Tony Blair been that although the methods have changed the aims are still the same.
Throughout the speech the strong theme of change is a most and the reform agenda will continue was clear, along with a final reminder that the Tories history tell you a lot about the future are they are still a threat and should not be ignored.
The conference then split up into ‘policy session’ showing some of the best practice examples from council’s around the country.
The session I attended was around the theme of ‘Cleaner, greener and safer’, and included comments from Ben Bradshaw one of the DEFRA ministers, Linda McAvan MEP, and the leader of Harrow Council.
Ben Bradshaw, set the scene noting that on this issue the difference in performance from council to council varies widely.
Linda McAvan, who is the Labour spokesperson in the European Parliament on Environment issue’s, spoke on the process of European Laws and directive go through to become law, and the slight disappointment that on some issues the UK government has not responded fast enough on getting the legislation in place.
The leader of Harrow Council, spoke on what they have done in Harrow and how they came about there street care vision, and some of the things they have been doing.
One interesting idea was around the theme of ‘single pass working’ which was basically have a single team working in a area dealing with everything, from pot holes to graffiti. They have also ensured that consultation on the issue is strong, and they have supported business’s by providing they with equipment and support to tackle local issues such as graffiti so everyone is involved in the area.