Headlines: April 8th, 2009

Councillors have been urged to think twice when commissioning services. The advice comes in a guide which has been sent to all elected members by the from the Local Government Information Unit.

The guide, ‘Think Twice: The role of elected members in commissioning’, has been produced by the LGiU with research partners the Association for Public Service Excellence and the trade union, UNISON. It calls on councillors to get actively involved in the commissioning processes that will shape the provision of public services.

It explains that elected members need to be clear that commissioning is concerned more with how services are designed and delivered than with who delivers them. Andy Sawford, the Chief Executive of the LGiU, stressed the need for genuine political accountability for decisions that could have a huge impact on a local area.

He said democratically elected councillors were best placed to provide local accountability for local government services and added: “Councillors are capable of making the decisions that they are answerable to the local electorate on. Excluding elected members, from so called ‘commissioning decisions’ removes the rightful role of a local councillor in determining local services to meet local needs.”