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The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and the Local Government Association (LGA) joined forces on 30 January to launch new ways of working between the different tiers of local government.

The Modelling Devolution conference held at Local Government House, London also featured the launch of the new Modelling Devolution publication.

The publication looks at how it is a time of significant change in local government: “Both principal (unitary, county, district and borough) and local (parish and town) councils are seeing an increase in demand for services. Coupled with the reduction in public spending and the development of new methods of joint working such as community budgeting and local integrated services, the time is right for a fresh look at how councils at all levels can work together.”

At the conference, Oliver Letwin MP, cabinet office minister, said: “Localism is a top priority for this coalition government, but we have the twin challenges of improving services and saving money at the same time. We want to bring more powers and service delivery to the neighbourhood level.

“Neighbourhood Planning is key to developing social capital and developing networks, because it brings the community closer together.”

Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the LGA, said that the answer to what next for localism? ( is to further joint working between all tiers of local government and to “turbo-charge localism”.

He further said in terms of the economic climate: “The localisation of business rates was right in that it helped develop the relationship between principal authority government and the private sector is now a proactive one. But in the future a united case should be made between the LGA and NALC about sharing in the proceeds of the business rates to the government.”

Cllr Ken Browse, chair of NALC, said: “The Modelling Devolution publication showcases what we can do when we listen to our communities and work together. The key here is for local services to be delivered and managed locally for people at a great value for communities.”