The context in which councils operate has changed dramatically since the last election, but by this September's LG Group Annual Rural Conference the landscape will have changed even more dramatically as the cuts to local authority funding and many provisions in the Localism Bill will have come into effect.
The LG Group's Annual Rural Conference is the key event for rural policy and decision-makers in local government and will provide a unique opportunity for elected members to discuss the challenges and opportunities that these changes have brought for councils and the rural perspective on the key policy issues that have emerged. The debate will be stimulated by speeches from senior politicians and policy makers, as well as contributions from elected members and officers who are working to deliver policies and services. You will have the opportunity to hear about developments in policy and practice and suggest how these should be shaped to meet the needs of rural communities.
The Minister of State for Rural Affairs will be giving the keynote speech at the conference, to discuss the key challenges that need to be addressed by rural communities and the role of the new Rural Communities Policy Unit. Other key areas that the event will focus on rural service delivery in the current financial climate, the Decentralisation and Localism Act in practice and the future for affordable housing in light of the changes to housing finance and neighbourhood planning.
The Conference and Commission will feature a number of fully interactive workshop and plenary sessions that will give delegates an opportunity to discuss and debate issues including Local Enterprise Partnerships, Community Budgets and the role of councils in preserving our natural environment.