Headlines: September 4th, 2002

Councils will no longer need to seek central government permission to take action on a range of local matters, following a deregulation drive by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).ODPM has worked on this issue with the Cabinet Office as part of the Government’s wider de-regulation agenda.

It also follows the commitment made in the local government White Paper’ Strong Local Leadership – Quality Public Services’ to offer reduced bureaucracy in return for better performance.

The Local Government Assocation has been calling for the freedom to act and has welcomed the latest reduction in paperwork.

What’s involved is the decision to de-regulate 84 consent regime powers – in effect a reduction in the number of instances where councils need to ask Government permission to take key decisions on local issues.

Consent regimes on which action is being taken include Local Education Authorities’ complaints procedures, compulsory purchase orders, approval of local authority housing cash incentive schemes, disposal of land at less than best consideration and traffic orders limiting vehicle access to premises.

ODPM promises this is just one of a series of de-regulatory measures arising from the White Paper – with a wider package of freedoms and flexibilities set to be announced later this year.

Subject to parliamentary time, decisions will be implemented by April 2004. The Regulatory Reform Act 2000 allows the Government to repeal unnecessary consent regimes without primary legislation.

There is a list of individual consent regimes where the Government has or will be taking action available on the ODPM website at