This government has demonstrated that it is committed to "localism" - diverting power to local organisations and services.

We are hoping to see further evidence of this next week, when George Osborne delivers his verdict on Lord Heseltine’s proposals for devolving funding from central government to local bodies.

But it’s increasingly clear that for this Coalition government, localism does not necessarily mean supporting local councils.

In terms of economic development, Ministers are working closely with the councils but they are also working closely with Local Enterprise Partnerships, bodies which are partly controlled by local authorities but have a life of their own.

It is likely that these partnerships will receive extra funding to administer, if anyone does.

In a similar way, the Government is clearly determined to give more freedom to schools.

But that hasn’t meant setting local authorities free to run their education services as they see fit. Rather, it has meant setting schools free, if that is the right word, from their local education authorities.

It’s not an entirely new approach. As Education Secretary Michael Gove delights in pointing out, he is largely following in the footsteps of previous Labour education ministers.

But that is scant comfort for the local authorities concerned. The difficulty they face is that they are still responsible for helping to run our education services, but the number of schools opting out of local authority administration is making this task harder.

There’s little point, at this stage, debating the rights and wrongs of academies. They are here to stay, and schools are increasingly going to opt for academy status.

However, Mr Gove does have a responsibilty to ensure that the creation of an academy does not disadvantage schools which remain within the local authority umbrella, nor damage the authority’s ability to provide services such as support for governors.

In Birmingham, there is evidence that he is failing to do so. The academy programme is costing Birmingham City Council’s education department money, and it doesn’t exactly have cash to spare.

Some costs are inevitable, but they cannot fall on to the shoulders of the local education authority in this way without threatening the quality of the services it provides.