Abstracts: December 17th, 2007

This agreement between Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Association is set to radically transform the relationship between councils and the government. It gives unprecedented new freedoms for local areas and communities, but the document is pitched at a high level and has nothing to say about the implications of what has been agreed. It is, however, being interpreted as giving the power to councils to secure the dismissal of under performing chief constables, local area police commanders and chief executives of failing NHS trusts.

For the first time there is an explicit statement that there should be a presumption that powers are best exercised at the lowest effective and practical level. The concordat gives councils the right to lead the delivery of public services in their area and shape its future without unnecessary direction or control. It commits local government to provide strong leadership, to work with their partners and to collaborate in delivering national targets.

The concordat spells out key priorities which central and local government will deliver together. These include tackling anti-social behaviour and crime, delivering good local services, more opportunities for young people and promoting enterprise.

The concordat is available at Communities and Local Government. www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/centrallocalconcordat