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The Chamberlain Files

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Sandwiches, pasties and the Mayfair Hotel – open data reveals council expenses 

16 Mar 16

A commitment by council leader John Clancy to turn Birmingham into an open data city is being delivered with gusto.


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Budget 2016: No end in sight to the Age of Austerity 

14 Mar 16

The motto for George Osborne’s Budgets so far might be to expect the unexpected.


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Dale’s Diary: Councillor Rip Van Winkle and the LEP where time stood still 

11 Mar 16

How much longer can Councillor Stewart Stacey’s beard grow before special measures are required to keep it safely in place? The Birmingham cabinet member has always had a bit of…


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Devolution Deals: informal governance or a pig’s breakfast? 

10 Mar 16

As the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) proudly announces that the seventh and last of the “original” local authorities has formally agreed to become a member, Chris Game from the University of Birmingham’s…


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The letter Mark Rogers should write to the improvement panel, but never would 

9 Mar 16

The Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel meets tomorrow (March 10) to quiz city council leader John Clancy and chief executive Mark Rogers about progress in delivering the culture change demanded by the…


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MIPIM eulogy of Greater Birmingham shows one side of the economic coin 

4 Mar 16

No one can accuse the authors of the 2016 MIPIM press pack of false modesty.


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WMCA’s ‘mates club’ reputation does little for openness and public engagement 

3 Mar 16

The leaders of the seven West Midlands metropolitan councils like to stress that they have come a long way in the past year, having agreed to form a combined authority…


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Police and fire services move closer under proposed new law 

24 Feb 16

A wide-ranging Policing and Crime Bill which has been presented to Parliament will pave the way for police commissioners to take on responsibility for fire and ambulance services.


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Why Boris is wrong and I (reluctantly) will vote to stay in the EU 

23 Feb 16

The trouble with intellectuals is they can be too clever for their own good.


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Sorry, councillors, but you’re confusing devolution with local democracy 

19 Feb 16

Typical of councillors! Offer them a generous 7½ seconds each to discuss the most radical and controversial change in the region’s governance in a generation – the creation of a…


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Lollipops, the library and school dinners – a question of trust for the council 

15 Feb 16

There may appear to be little obvious connection between the Library of Birmingham, the eternal row over the future of school crossing patrols, and an ambitious plan to give a…


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Jamieson to have final say over West Midlands metro mayor police commissioner plan 

8 Feb 16

The elected West Midlands metro mayor will not be given powers to oversee policing without the agreement of Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, the Home Secretary has confirmed.


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Dale’s Diary: Clancy still counting the days as rubbish problems laid bare 

3 Feb 16

John Clancy has been the leader of Birmingham city council for 65 days.


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Mayoral poker game ends in victory for Clancy, but Afzal row rumbles on 

2 Feb 16

The great Birmingham mayoral poker game ended dramatically last night when Cllr Muhammad Afzal threw his cards in and refused to come to the table.


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Too early to speculate about standing for mayor – says leading candidate 

28 Jan 16

Labour will begin the process of choosing its West Midlands metro mayor candidate in July.


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Shakespeare’s town signs up for WMCA, but council leaders still coy over metro mayor issue 

26 Jan 16

The future arrangements for local government in the West Midlands, specifically whether a combined authority will be approved later this year, are currently out for public consultation.


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Clancy’s right – citizens and customers are quite different 

25 Jan 16

So, in announcing his linguo-cultural revolution of having Birmingham City Council refer to us as ‘citizens’ rather than ‘customers’, the new city leader John Clancy reportedly omitted to explain why…


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What’s going on ‘ere then? Jamieson hits out at WMCA ‘police takeover’ plot 

19 Jan 16

Confusion over whether the West Midlands metro mayor will take responsibility for police when the office is filled next year shows no sign of clearing after David Jamieson, the PCC…


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Desperate street gangs ‘using Victorian guns with home-made ammo’ 

18 Jan 16

Gangs in Birmingham have taken to manufacturing their own ammunition to use with ancient firearms as gun crime in the city is on the increase.


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Clancy and Rogers lay it on the line: ‘The salami days are over, now it’s serious’ 

14 Jan 16

More than half of the £250 million of spending cuts Birmingham council intends to deliver over the next four years rely on the new city leader succeeding in areas where…


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Dale’s Diary: Trickett recycled and Zaffar bowled a googlie 

13 Jan 16

Lisa Trickett, the Birmingham cabinet member for bins, recycling and street cleaning, rose in the council chamber for the umpteenth time to answer a question and risked a weak joke…


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The life and times of Paul Tilsley, aka Birmingham’s Old Codger 

11 Jan 16

Forty-two years after he was first elected to Birmingham city council, Paul Tilsley has announced at the age of 70 he is standing down as leader of the Liberal Democrat…


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The day a ‘novice’ stepped up to the plate and proved his critics wrong 

11 Jan 16

The latest letter from the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel chair John Crabtree to Communities Secretary Greg Clark makes it clear that Birmingham city council is finally beginning to deliver reforms…


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Jamieson could take control of fire as well as police under Government plans 

6 Jan 16

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson could take control of fire services on top of his other duties if he is re-elected next year, it has been confirmed.


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2015: Top Ten Stories of the Year 

4 Jan 16

As our review of the year highlighted, 2015 on the Chamberlain Files was dominated by the ongoing impact of the Kerslake Review and the resignation of the Council leader ten months…


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Commissioner Jamieson delivers New Year pledge to recruit 450 police officers 

4 Jan 16

West Midlands Police will recruit 450 new officers by April 2017 despite the continued impact of Government grant cuts.


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Clancy’s 2016 vow for Birmingham: ‘I’ll create wealth, jobs and an enterprise city’ 

4 Jan 16

In the first of a three-part interview to mark 30 days in the job, Birmingham city council leader John Clancy tells Chamberlain Files’ chief blogger Paul Dale of his hopes…


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ChamberlainFiles Regional Awards for Politics – Part Two 

31 Dec 15

In the second and final part of our end of the year awards, we list – based on an extensive assessment process with a crack team of judges – our…


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ChamberlainFiles Regional Awards for Politics – Part One 

30 Dec 15

It’s been a year of high drama for Birmingham politics.


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2015: A Year of Transformation 

29 Dec 15

The year got off to a promising start as far as the Birmingham economy was concerned, and the good news just kept getting better and better throughout 2015, writes Paul…


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2015: A Year of Devolution 

23 Dec 15

Many people thought it would never happen.


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2015: A Year of Revolution 

22 Dec 15

2015 was a year of momentous change for Birmingham and the West Midlands.


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Labour reselect David Jamieson for 2016 West Midlands PCC election 

21 Dec 15

David Jamieson has been reselected to stand as the Labour party candidate at next May’s election for a West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.


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Dale’s Diary: Friends fall out after a week and Tories wake up to PCC election 

10 Dec 15

The blokeish chumminess between the new Labour leader of Birmingham city council and his Tory counterpart Robert ‘Bobby’ Alden didn’t last very long.


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Independent living underpinning council budget spells end of cradle to grave welfare state culture 

10 Dec 15

There are two words that underpin the financial strategy Birmingham city council is adopting to deliver £250 million of savings over the next four years on top of the £560…


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Clancy basks in sea of tranquility, but winter storms are on the horizon 

8 Dec 15

The air of tranquillity that has descended over Birmingham city council since John Clancy became leader a week ago is, quite frankly, a bit eerie and clearly cannot last for…


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Turbocharged Javid’s engine set to roar, but what exactly is the Midlands? 

7 Dec 15

First, we had Chancellor George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse.


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Operation Clancy: everything you need to know about the new council leader and his policies 

3 Dec 15

No one can accuse the new Birmingham city council leader of lacking policies.


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Ballotgate – so just who said what to whom? 

2 Dec 15

Chamberlain Files readers have much for which to thank Dale’s Diary – countless insights into and distractions from the rich tapestry that is our city’s governance, writes Chris Game.


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Clancy comes in from the cold in ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ power shift moment 

1 Dec 15

Today’s handover of power at the top of Birmingham city council from Sir Albert Bore to John Clancy is taking on something of a cold war atmosphere.


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Dale’s Diary: Clancy’s first mini-crisis, and ‘Ballotgate’ rumbles on 

30 Nov 15

He hasn’t even begun the job officially yet, but new Birmingham city council leader John Clancy is already facing his first mini-crisis.


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PREVIEW: Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015 

23 Nov 15

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement has evolved in recent years from a rather dull but worthy assessment of future Government spending plans to high political theatre second in importance only to…


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Tories signal end of the road for West Midlands police commissioner 

23 Nov 15

The Conservative party has abandoned efforts to select a candidate for next year’s West Midlands police commissioner election, claiming the Government has decided to abolish the post.


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Damage limitation to the fore as leadership candidates fight bore draw 

20 Nov 15

The four candidates battling to become the next Labour leader of Birmingham city council squared up against each other in a two hour question and answer session at the second…


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Jamieson in line for West Midlands deputy metro mayor if PCC job is abolished 

18 Nov 15

Negotiations are under way between the Home Office, HM Treasury, and council leaders to sort out the future control of police and fire services across the West Midlands.


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Secret Election Diary: Albert’s General MacArthur moment – ‘I shall return’ 

18 Nov 15

Sir Albert Bore’s parting shot at the end of his final cabinet meeting as council leader, that it might not have been his last cabinet meeting after all, reverberated around…


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Secret Election Diary: Christmas spirit in short supply as Ali and Ward trade blows 

13 Nov 15

A psychoanalyst would have had a treat at today’s Birmingham city council transportation scrutiny committee meeting.


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Birmingham 2020 Vision: ‘It’s a great life for all’ – but is it really achievable? 

13 Nov 15

The much anticipated 2020 Vision setting out Birmingham city council’s journey over the next five years has been released.


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Secret Election Diary: Ali backs Clancy, Ward on the ropes 

11 Nov 15

John Clancy has become the first of the Birmingham council leadership candidates to win public backing from a cabinet member.


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These fat cats deserve outing, even by hypocrites 

11 Nov 15

Chris Game, from the University of Birmingham, tackles the thorny issue of pay in the public sector.


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West Midlands PCC condemns ‘farce’ of the £37m police grant that never was 

10 Nov 15

Police Commissioner David Jamieson has hit out at the “farce” of an additional £37 million the Government promised the West Midlands force, which has been delayed for a year after…


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Secret Election Diary: Sir Albert’s long goodbye and a hustings U-turn 

6 Nov 15

It’s been 16 years since Birmingham city council Labour group changed its leader.


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EDITORIAL: The day that democracy died in Birmingham 

4 Nov 15

EDITORIAL: Today, nominations open for the next leader of Birmingham’s Labour group – by default the next leader of Birmingham City Council.


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Secret Election Diary: Leddy’s ‘Food for Thought’ campaign reaches cult status 

2 Nov 15

In the highly unlikely event that Mike Leddy becomes the next leader of Birmingham city council, no one who votes for him can say they didn’t know what they were…


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Secret Election Diary: Barry bowls a fast one 

29 Oct 15

One of the curious things about the election for the next leader of Birmingham city council is that hardly any of the 78 Labour councillors entitled to vote has said publicly who they…


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Devolution: who’s telling porkies and treating us like children? 

29 Oct 15

Chris Game asks who is telling porkies and treating us like children when it comes to putting devolution deals together.


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The WMCA’s planetary system – and its resemblance to Neptune 

22 Oct 15

Chris Game’s latest blog is principally about the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), as might be deduced from the headline and map – and not at all about the Birmingham City Council leadership…


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Secret Election Diary: Barry Henley enters the race (he doesn’t have a manifesto either) 

21 Oct 15

A third candidate has declared for the Great Birmingham Council Leadership Stakes, a five-mile gallop across rough ground with an uncertain handicapping system.


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New West Midlands chief constable to benefit from £37m budget increase 

20 Oct 15

The new chief constable of the West Midlands will inherit a £37 million increase in the force budget after the Government agreed to change an “unfair” funding formula.


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Secret Election Diary: Boreites struggle to find a runner���advantage Clancy 

19 Oct 15

The race to become the next leader of Birmingham city council kicks off formally tonight when Labour councillors meet to set a timetable to elect a replacement for Sir Albert…