14 May, 2024
11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Eric Pickles PC, former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Ministerial Insights: why is decentralisation so hard?

The arguments for devolution are intuitive. The complexity and diversity of the villages, towns, and cities that comprise England can't possibly be best served by a one-size-fits-all approach to public services. Growing geographical inequalities and a democratic deficit necessitate that services and delivery models look different from place to place.

Decentralisation offers the opportunity to grow the economy, improve our public services and empower our nation. Yet tight budgets and spiralling demand for services such as adult and children's social care and housing mean many local authorities are at breaking point. Increasingly, councils are issuing s114 notices.

ln addition to financial precarity, a complicated patchwork of local government levels hampers decision-making and blurs accountability, and local capacity and capability remains an issue. These barriers to devolution must be addressed to realise its potential.

Reform is delighted to welcome Eric Pickles PC, former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to discuss the key barriers to decentralisation and, crucially, how we overcome them and seize the opportunity devolution offers.

This event is part of our major Reimagining the Local State research programme.