Most of us have seen nature documentaries where a small group of lions chases a pack of wildebeest and picks off the weakest first. What if the wildebeest asked for help- and 500 of them confronted 3 lions. It might be a different story.
Northamptonshire's weaknesses have been well documented by inspectors but what strikes me most is its relative isolation and inability to problem solve with others. There were similar traits at Kensington and Chelsea pre- Grenfell.
Putting up your hand and saying you need help or just learning from others take humility and recognition that others might have faced the same problem or have better ideas than you.
This brings the obvious and often said but not always executed truth. Local Government is stronger than the sum of its individual parts. Local authorities should start from a presumption of collaboration and peer challenge. It should be the default setting for all leaders and chief executives.
By the end the lions surrounded Northamptonshire and gobbled it up as a starter. Councils need to learn the lessons make sure they are not the main course.
Northamptonshire CC being served a section 114 notice by its chief finance officer is newsworthy. That it was not set to deliver its legal requirement for a balanced budget is significant not only for the council concerned but for the whole local government sector, and indeed all public services facing spending pressures. At the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy we believe there are three lessons for local government from this incident. First, the sector will require more spending quantum to cover a £20bn gap against service pressures by 2020-21. This shortfall, including £5bn on adult social care, could be solved overnight by the Treasury not retaining 50% of the local business rates that councils collect