Local councils have been hit hard by austerity, they would have you believe, however all they do is spend less when they have less, it is not rocket science. One aspect that needs looking into is council culture, and we can start with communications. Communications teams are going to have to learn to let go. By that I mean the all controlling communications team will need to relax the reins in some areas and just allow staff to do their own thing, especially in social media. This is a big challenge for communications teams, but an even bigger challenge for the culture of councils as a whole. The days of strict media protocols will not disappear, but putting more trust in staff to communicate and converse themselves, with support from communications colleagues, has to happen as soon as possible. How do people today communicate with their local council? They stroll into the town hall, or read a notice on the board outside the town hall. David Sparks, who will be the LGA's first Labour chairman for 10 years, said local government needed to change. He called for councils to be given more power, including the ability to keep a bigger share of rates and taxes. He said local government had to be adapted for the 21st century. Rather than just throw money at them, why not retrain councillors in today's form of modern communications. If only council officials were able to keep in contact with voters and the unfortunate, put upon council taxpayer.