Headlines: July 30th, 2010

Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee has announced an inquiry into the Government’s plans for localism and decentralisation of public services.

The committee issued a public call for submissions, to arrive by October 1, on a range of issues related to localism, with a specific request for evidence of how learning from the Total Place initiative could help develop the new agenda.

The inquiry will look at whether decentralisation leads to more effective public services, whether there should be limits to localism, and what arrangements should exisit to oversee local council performance.

One key area will be place-based budgeting, following on from Total Place. The Committee is asking whether there is any potential to build on that existing work. Place-based budgeting sees money allocated for public services in an area with local decision-making deciding the relative amounts to be spent on each service.

The balance between central and local government will also be covered, with ideas sought about the role of local government and other local organisations, and about what must be done in Whitehall departments to achieve effective decentralised public services.

The Committee also intends to study the possible impact of changes on proposed savings, and the best way to ensure proper oversight and accountability for spending on local services.