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Local Spending Reports

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

We have published a consultation on the first arrangements for the production of local spending reports, which is a requirement of the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. This document has been placed in the Library of the House and is available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website at:

www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/localspendingreportsconsultation

The Sustainable Communities Act 2007 was introduced to Parliament as a private Member’s Bill and aims to promote the sustainability of local communities in England. It is based on the principle that local people know best what needs to be done to promote the sustainability of their area, but that sometimes they need central Government to act to enable this to happen. In October 2008, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government invited local authorities to submit proposals, via the Local Government Association in its capacity as ‘the selector’, which they consider would contribute to promoting the sustainability of local communities. The deadline for the submission of proposals to the Local Government Association is 31 July 2009.

The Act requires the Secretary of State to make arrangements for the production of local spending reports and to make the first arrangements for the production of these reports before 23 April 2009. The reports will provide information on expenditure by bodies exercising public functions in an area and over a period of time. The aim of these reports is to assist local authorities, their partners and local people in promoting the sustainability of local communities by providing more information about the public funding that is spent in their area.

Before making arrangements the Act requires the Secretary of State to consult such persons likely to be affected by the arrangements as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate. This will enable the Government to develop local spending reports which are useful and whose cost is likely to justify their benefit. This consultation paper is in two phases. Firstly, proposals for how the Government will put in place the first arrangements for local spending reports and, secondly, seeking views on how local spending reports might develop over time.

The first phase of the consultation closes on the 3 April 2009. We intend to make the first local spending reports available as soon as possible after that. The second phase of the consultation on how these reports might develop on a longer-term basis closes on 15 May 2009.