Headlines: September 8th, 2006



Leading figures from the public sector will be part of an independent commission being launched by the Local Government Association to look into how the LGA and its related bodies should go forward to ensure it provides the strongest leadership, support and voice for councils.

The review will be led by Lord Best, the LGA President but will carry out its work independently. It will consider the need for the Association to put local government in the vanguard of public service reform and look at how to strengthen the ability of the LGA and related bodies to influence central government.

The review will also consider the way in which the body works with local authorities to ‘win the public’s hearts and minds’, how it can ensure elected councillors and council staff feed into national policy and how it can lead the sector to provide an ever better deal for taxpayers.

The review team will meet for the first time next Friday and will go on to visit councils and other interested bodies around the country. Monthly meetings will take place in London and the review will commission focus groups and other research leading to a report being submitted to the LGA early in the new year.

Paul Coen, who took over as LGA chief this summer said it has achieved a great deal since it was formed ten years ago. “We have most recently set out in Closer to People and Places a radical agenda for reform in both central and local government. By common consent, the tide is turning in favour of those who argue for a decentralised and devolved approach to public service improvement,” he said.

It was in that context, he added, that the organisation needed to reflect on its future and that of the broader public sector to make the changes that might be necessary to ensure it could capitalise on this opportunity. “The independent commission will make a major contribution to ensuring our next ten years are even more successful than our first decade,” he said.