Headlines: January 18th, 2011

The New Local Government Network, an independent thinktank, has called for this week’s Parliamentary debate on localism to take a more radical approach. The thinktank argues that the whole of the State should be open to local community-run services and no part of the State should be immune from forces of localism.

Under the NLGN’s proposals ‘the right to challenge’ would be opened up to apply to all corners of the State including Whitehall departments and government agencies. Community bodies or local authorities could submit an expression of interest where they felt they were able to provide the service at a lower cost or higher quality.

NLGN Director Simon Parker said: “The Localism Bill offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shift power from the centre down to communities. But, no part of the State should be immune from the forces of localism. NLGN wants communities to be able to bid to run local services currently run from Whitehall, such as welfare to work provision or crime prevention programmes. Ministers should not have one rule for councils and another for their own departments.”

He added “Time and time again NLGN research has shown that major financial savings and improvements can be made if services were delivered locally. Opening up the whole State to ‘the right to challenge’ will transform how we deliver public services in Britain.”