Sir Merrick Cockell, the Executive Chairman of Cratus Communications, has been sharing his thoughts on the future of local public services with The Independent newspaper.
Speaking to Chris Blackhurst – the Group Content Editor for The Independent and its sister papers – Sir Merrick spoke candidly about the role which local government plays in England, and the need for it to enjoy the same degree of autonomy and freedom which other parts of the UK benefit from.
Sir Merrick, who until recently served as chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “England is the last remnant of the British empire. Everyone else has been given back their freedom.”
He went on to share his belief that the Government is reluctant to go down the path for English devolution, saying “they don’t want to make the mistakes of increased regionalisation that have occurred in the past. They’re wary of adding another tier of elected politicians. I can understand that.”
But, he argues, “The last thing England needs is only Whitehall deciding where the money should go.”
Describing Sir Merrick as being passionate about devolution, the article outlines the challenges councils have faced over recent years in responding to funding cuts and his view on the changes of the past few years.
Crucially, the article highlights Sir Merrick’s view that town halls have got “more grown-up, closer relationships with the communities they serve…. They need to ask, ‘What really matters to you as residents’”.
This reflects the work that Cratus does – under Sir Merrick’s chairmanship – to support a wide range of clients in the private and voluntary sectors. Every member of the Cratus team has a background in local public services, ensuring we understand the nature of the relationship between local politicians and the communities they serve. It is with this experience that Cratus help its clients align their expertise with meeting the priorities that councillors have on behalf of local residents.
For the full article in The Independent, click here.
(Photograph and content reproduced with kind permission from The Independent.)