It's been a year in development, but I am now pleased to say that our free online module for councillors is now available at http://tinyurl.com/regmodule
This new online resource for all councillors helps explain the ways that they can engage council's regulatory services to support and meet the needs of local businesses and residents. It outlines the work of trading standards, licensing and environmental health teams and explains their critical role in delivering council priorities and tackling the very real problems experienced by businesses and residents, and which form the majority of a councillor's case load.
It has been a fascinating experience developing this from the original concept, through to identifying what information was needed, to practical exercises and finally filming some willing councillors! Along the way we encountered a vast wealth of good practice and new ways that councils are finding to more effectively tackle local issues and support businesses - all with reduced resources that require a much smarter way of working.
We have included as many examples of these as possible, from West Yorkshire's public health work to make local takeaways more healthy, to Wandsworth's initiatives to bring derelict or empty homes back into use, to Suffolk's community-led cold calling zones. Of course, we couldn't include everything so have signposted to other examples wherever possible, meaning that councillors (and officers) have a range of practical examples to inspire them and be adapted to local issues.
None of our services operate in isolation - whether you are a county, district or a unitary, there will be other services that your businesses and residents will have to deal with. So we have emphasised throughout that councillors should not consider only the services for which they have direct responsibility, but consider the whole network of services affecting their locality, acting as champions to join up the services and achieve better outcomes and efficiencies for council, residents and businesses alike.
I would like to thank the many colleagues who have contributed to this work, but especially the steering group who provided oversight of the project: Cllr Val Slater, Cllr Mehboob Khan, Cllr Michael Payne, Cllr Paul Ellis, Cllr Colin Spence, Dave Holland, Guy Pratt, Dianne Widdowson, David Bull, Graham Hebblethwaite, Steve Greenfield, and Nick Gracie-Langrick.