The Local Government Association (LGA) has made a bid to work alongside the
Government to tackle one of the biggest tensions between the two.
The organisation that represents every council in the country has asked to
work with the new Performance and Innovation Unit to sort out what should
be regulated centrally, and what should be subject to local discretion.
The LGA says what while ministers have a legitimate interest in setting
standards and targets in key areas of public concern – uniform national
approaches stifle innovation and miss out on local ideas and opportunities.
It’s offering an alternative – The Local Challenge. Under The Local
Challenge a council and its partners could identify an issue of particular
importance to their local communities where they felt the relevant national
programmes or approaches were not appropriate.
The council would then commit to meet an alternative agreed target. The LGA
says this approach enables ministers to retain their legitimate interest in
outcomes while allowing more discretion at a local level over how those
outcomes should be achieved.