Magazine article Public Finance

O'Donnell Backs More Spending Flexibility for Councils

Magazine article Public Finance

O'Donnell Backs More Spending Flexibility for Councils

Article excerpt

New Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell has told local government leaders that he will be urging central government departments to allow local authorities more flexibility in the way they spend their allocated funds.

Speaking at a conference held jointly by the London School of Economics and the Local Government Association on September 14, O'Donnell praised the pilot Local Area Agreements, which enable authorities to merge departmental funding streams into a single pot.

'LAAs provide the framework and the freedom to focus delivery on people and to find local solutions for local issues,' said O'Donnell. He described the pilots as a 'beneficial journey' and said: 'I am committed to working with my permanent secretary colleagues to ensure that all our departments explore the opportunities for more flexible and innovative approaches to deliver further progress.'

O'Donnell also said that although a greater movement of senior staff between central and local government was vital to establishing a better working relationship between the two layers of government, the pay gap between central and local government was a barrier to this happening. …

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