Skip to content

Population change experience to advise UK policy

Boston Borough Council's experiences in dealing with population change, and its award for its work on the issues from the national Centre for Public Scrutiny, are being recognised at a national level.

Cllr Paul Kenny, who chaired the in-depth investigation in Boston into the impact of population change, joined the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) judging panel to short list entries for this year's awards.

On Tuesday, June 10, he will attend the CfPS annual conference at Local Government House, London, representing the borough council, to talk about last year's task and finish report on the social impact of population change which was awarded the 2013 overall scrutiny award.

It will be a busy day for Cllr Kenny as, in the afternoon, he and his wife, Pam, will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace as the immediate past Mayor and Mayoress of Boston. And in the evening he is back at Local Government House to present the award for Economic Resilience at the CfPS awards.

On Monday, June 9, he will attend a meeting of the Local Government Association's asylum and migration task force at Local Government House, meeting the Home Office and talking about national policy which would affect Boston.

In the afternoon he is facilitating a migration seminar as the chairman of the East Midlands Strategic Migration Group with the East Midlands All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) of MPs and leaders of all the councils in the East Midlands at the House of Commons in London.

The summit will bring together key decision-makers on migration at national and local level and identify and explore the key issues as they affect local communities and the provision of public services in the East Midlands. It will support the development of a report to be presented to Government in the summer.

Cllr Kenny will present an overview of population change and local impact.

The meeting will focus on the specific challenges facing communities and public service providers, highlight examples of good practice and innovative approaches to supporting local communities in a time of change and make recommendations to Government, local councils and other public service providers.

Cllr Kenny said: "Boston has the highest proportion of residents born in EU accession countries of any local authority in England and Wales, at 10.6 per cent; and the biggest percentage increase where the non-UK born population grew by 8,063 residents (from 1,727 in 2001 to 9,790 in 2011), representing a growth of 467 per cent.

"Whilst the quality of some migration data has been improved in recent years, it remains a concern that current data gives a significant under-estimation of migration numbers. Since a sizeable element of local government funding from central Government is directly linked to the size of the local population, the undercount of the migrant population has led to inadequate funding for public services. Even when additional funding is forthcoming it lags behind the more immediate pressure on local services.

"There remains a lack of analysis and understanding about the scale and impact of international migration within Parliament, the media and the public at large. This joint work represents an attempt to shine a light on such issues in an East Midlands context - but more needs to be done at a national level to frame the debate in a positive manner."

On Tuesday, June 17, he will be presenting a regional members' forum in Melton Mowbray, discussing migration and the way forward within the East Midlands with council leaders and staff. Cllr Paul Kenny will also share his experiences on migration in Boston Borough Council and look at how the East Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership Board can support members in their work.

This event will provide an overview of the Immigration Bill and the implications for local government .

The borough council's award-winning Social Impact of Population Change scrutiny review will form the basis for a workshop at the event.