The next few years are going to require some bold and creative solutions to some very challenging problems. These solutions are going increasingly to invented and implemented on a place basis and will be best achieved when local government and the VCS are together promoting and striving for their communities.
David Hodge has grabbed our attention and deservedly so. We know that social care needs to be better connected to health care. We know that government should take a lead in both encouraging integration and ensuring adequate funds are available. But residents cannot wait for someone to blink first or be reshuffled/voted out of office.
As the work begins and the dust starts to settle on this year's Autumn Statement, I think we can see it as a real shot in the arm for infrastructure, R&D and innovation. These measures should see a real return in terms of productivity and growth. They should, too, help the UK keep up in telecomms developments. And they present a great opportunity to push even harder on urban innovation, so our companies can continue to develop and sell world-beating products and services that help cities thrive.
It is a fact that the world's successful economies do not lean on one single superpowered capital, but a network of strong, well-connected regions. As the UK prepares for Brexit, having strength in our regions is more important than ever. Our economy cannot prop itself up on an overcrowded, overpriced capital. Building strongholds in regions to attract international and national businesses are a must, and with its position at the heart of the UK, the Midlands will be crucial to economic success.
Taking control of Manchester's health budget will not be easy. Funding will be a big headache - as the region faces a £2billion black hole in the finances over the next five years. Finding the necessary efficiency savings will be no mean feat given that many of the easy savings have already been made over recent years.
The result of the Brexit referendum on EU membership has no binding force in law. This was the main point made in an open letter to David Cameron signed by 1054 barristers on 9 July 2016. This is undoubtedly correct. But the rest of the letter, and especially the part that proposes "a way forward", reads like a joke.
When Aneurin Bevan spoke in support of the second reading of Labour's NHS Bill 68 years ago, he made a very simple, clear case. He argued that for healthcare to be truly universal, and democratic, it must be delivered through a national system. The N in NHS must truly stand for National, he argued...
The future is of course unwritten. The post-referendum landscape will inevitably be different, and we can't leave it to others to shape it. The opportunity to shape a new constitutional settlement - that takes the heat from the referendum campaign and produces something effective, enduring and empowering - is one we must take.
The government's plans would see prohibitions limiting large stores from opening on Sundays for more than six hours lifted in certain circumstances. The decision would be devolved to local leaders across England and Wales (Scotland and Ireland already have powers over Sunday trading devolved to their regional parliaments).
The Government is studiously avoiding prescribing how devolution and integration should happen - but it is already clear that those who are thinking bigger than just their own local area will be more successful in their negotiations. So yes, fight for more power for your local area - but to maximise your 'devolution dividend', you must be ready to share it.