Abstracts: November 29th, 2006

In a speech to the New Local Government Network, Yvette Cooper MP, set out the developing relationship between central and local government against the background of the White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities.Central government intends to step back and the relationship with local government will be developed through Local Area Agreements. Currently some 500 million pounds of funding streams go through local area agreements. The proposals in the White Paper will take this up to 4.7 billion pounds. Today there are 1200 national targets and indicators in a local area. This will be reduced to 200 indicators with around 35 improvement targets, plus statutory education and child care targets included in the LAA. There is a presumption that in future all area-based funding will go – unringfenced – through the LAA.

There are a number of outcomes which may be best delivered through collaboration at a broader geographic scale than a single local authority. To take joint working forward, the Local Area Agreement framework is being developed to include Multi Area Agreements, and this does not just relate to cities. The new framework could provide greater flexibility in shaping interventions within the sub-region and strengthening cross-boundary working between local authorities and their partners.

The White Paper proposes a complete redrawing of local government and the assumptions that underpin the key relationships that help local government serve the people. As part of this development the Local Strategic Partnership and Sustainable Community Strategy will have more teeth to build up the role of local people in shaping their place. The promotion of neighbourhood management, charters and parishes will give communities more control over services and assets.

The speech is available at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1504696