Headlines: November 30th, 2006

REVIEW OF COUNCILS’ REGULATORY ROLE ANNOUNCED

 

The Chief Executive of Westminster City Council, Peter Rogers, has been appointed to lead the review of areas of the law that are enforced by local authorities. His independent review will look at more than 60 policy areas with a brief to arrive at a more joined up approach to regulation, inspection and enforcement and to identify five key priorities.

The appointment has been welcomed by LACORS – the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services – which has been calling for a reduction in the number of nationally-imposed priorities that local council staff are expected to deliver. The review will work with local authorities, businesses and central government as well as with independent regulators and the aim is that it will report before the 2007 Budget statement.

The reviews terms of reference are to define the policy areas and enforcement mechanisms that fall under the remit of local authority regulators; to collect and collate evidence on the relative priority of those policies for central government, local citizens and business, and to make recommendations on around five policy areas that are central government priorities for local authorities.

Peter Rogers said he had agreed to head the process because he felt it would lead to real improvements for those who were being regulated and for those who relied on the protection provided by regulation. Local Government, he said, made so many of the decisions that affected people’s daily lives that it was down to authorities to make sure those decisions were fair, consistent and properly enforced. “By working together to focus on 5 priorities local authority achievements will be better recognised, regional variations will be diminished and we can use resources more efficiently,” he added.

Derek Allen Executive Director of LACORS welcomed the review. It has been calling for fewer priorities to be imposed centrally. He said, “If this is achieved, it will not only enable a better focus on those policy areas considered to be of the highest importance to government, but significantly will allow councils to develop their own set of local priorities for their regulatory services, that support good businesses and provide effective protection to the communities they serve.