COUNCIL representatives from the area will meet at Burnley's Turf Moor football ground on Friday to discuss the future role of local government in East Lancashire.

Major changes in the way councils and councillors work are predicted for the next decade with the possible setting up of cabinet-style local authorities.

The role of non-cabinet councillors could be as scrutineers of policies and performance, as links with companies, community organisations and other key partners and as chairmen and members of area and local committees as co-ordinators and advocates of ward plans and proposals.

No-one knows what the future will be like but David Albury and Sue Gross from the Office for Public Management will discuss two imaginary scenarios for the future of local government in East Lancashire.

They said: "There are many other possible scenarios. And no doubt the future when it arrives will be different again. But they will help us think."

Local government has a long and for the most part honourable tradition, providing efficient services, bringing together communities and looking after the vulnerable members of society.

Times change, however, and local authorities need to change in response.

In an increasingly interconnected society, decisions made elsewhere can effect local companies with implications for house prices, rents and the economic development of all East Lancashire.

Problems including drugs, unemployment, housing, and transport can only be tackled by partnerships and co-operation between councils, other agencies and the private sector.

Friday's event in the Hospitality Suite in the North Stand at Turf Moor is designed to share experience and ideas without trying to reach a single view.

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