Last week we published a post querying the change of name from the Guardian Local Leaders Network; previously known as the Guardian Local Government Network. We were concerned that the network had done what so many local government organisations do, and sought just to focus on the elite within the sector and ignore everyone else.
After we published the post Jane Dudman from the Network got in touch and asked us to publish a response; something we are happy to do. The response is below and if you have any feedback we’d love to hear it.
Like We Love Local Government itself, the Guardian's Local Leaders Network loves local government.
So we were delighted that WLLG's Gareth Young noted our recent name change, from the Guardian Local Government Network to the Guardian Local Leaders Network. We agree with Gareth that this is a significant name change and a really positive thing.
Like WLLG, we know that it's a mistake to see local government as a separate entity, divorced from the local area in which it exists.
The weight of local councils' responsibilities keeps expanding and the size of the challenge, from local economic growth, arts and culture, planning and welfare, through to health and wellbeing, is huge.
Local government is deeply entwined with the local community and increasingly works in partnership with other parts of the public sector, including emergency services and the NHS, and a wide range of other partners, including people from local community groups, housing associations, local businesses, charities and faith groups.
I had hoped that my message to our network members had made it crystal clear that we see the need for leadership at every single level of local government. That's why I specifically mentioned frontline leadership, alongside political and professional leadership.
Like WLLG, we do not believe that splitting out leaders from the rest of local government staff makes any kind of sense. Our network is, indeed inclusive, and, as Gareth noted, is widening – in future, our content will include more people, not fewer. We'll be doing more about the local leaders of the future, too, as they start their careers.
We also do not think local government leaders are just people who have the word “leader” in their job title. We all know local people who demonstrate leadership qualities in their everyday working lives and the Local Leaders Network is here to highlight and celebrate those qualities. Don't forget, too, that the Guardian Public Services Awards, now in their 10th year - also celebrate those qualities.
We're open to ideas, to debate and to discussion about leadership at every level of the local community.
We support all open debate and discussion of what works well in local areas and far from having a narrow focus on just those people who run local organisations, we believe we do indeed have a much wider understanding of what comprises local leadership. So if you're not already a member, join the Local Leaders Network now and help us highlight good leadership, wherever it's happening.