Magazine article Public Finance

Whitehall Attempts to Bring in Local Targets by the Back Door

Magazine article Public Finance

Whitehall Attempts to Bring in Local Targets by the Back Door

Article excerpt

Whitehall departments are undermining devolution to town halls by attempting to Introduce surreptitious targets for local services - despite government promises to slash central diktats.

The Local Government Association and Audit Commission this week revealed concerns over creeping external interference in the new performance regime for councils.

Public Finance understands that the worst culprits include Health; Children, Schools and Families; and the Home Office.

In October, Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears slashed targets - or 'national indicators' - for councils from 1,200 to 198, amid criticism that they distort local priorities.

But speaking in London on November 20, LGA chair Sir Simon Milton said: 'We're beginning to see some government departments attempt to introduce separate performance measures outside of the 198 [NIs]. My Job is to draw this to the attention of Hazel Blears and [local government minister] John Healey to stamp this out'

When Blears launched the new NI regime, she said it would give councils 'major new freedoms to direct their focus and resources at the issues that local people care about'. …

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