Magazine article Public Finance

LAA Abolition Given Cautious Welcome

Magazine article Public Finance

LAA Abolition Given Cautious Welcome

Article excerpt

Local government groups have welcomed the abolition of Local Area Agreements but warned that there must be a new relationship between Whitehall and councils.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced on October 13 that the 152 agreements, which contain national performance targets, were to be scrapped.

In a speech at Hammersmith Town Hall, he told local leaders: Tm handing over control of more than 4,700 targets to councils and their voters to keep them or dump them as they see fit'

He promised that Whitehall would stop its 'endless demands' for measurements from councils and only ask for one set of data.

David Parsons, chair of the Local Government Group's Improvement Board, welcomed the decision. 'This is in line with what we have lobbying for under our "Freedom to lead" campaign,' he said. 1We want councils to be accountable to local people, not government or inspectors.

The LG Group will work with councils to ensure they have the tools and support they need to deliver improved outcomes for local people in their area.'

Andy Sawford, head of the Local Government Information Unit, said he supported the move away from top-down targets, but added that LAAs had generally been considered 'a step in the right direction'. …

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