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Review of Statutory Duties

Volume 524: debated on Monday 7 March 2011

I am today announcing a comprehensive review of the statutory duties placed on local authorities by central Government. This is a further step in the drive to remove centrally imposed prescription and burdens and free councils up to meet the needs of their communities.

Central Government are committed to taking a proactive role to identifying and removing bureaucratic burdens and barriers that stifle local decision making. We have already freed local authorities from thousands of targets, ended the costly inspection regime and announced work to streamline central data requirements. We now need to be clear about the cumulative demands centrally prescribed duties place on local authorities and consider carefully whether they can continue to be justified.

Review of Statutory Duties on local government

Historically central Government have been prescriptive about how councils should serve their communities and many functions councils undertake have legal duties attached to them, set out in numerous Acts of Parliament.

The Department for Communities and Local Government will lead a comprehensive review of statutory duties with the aim of determining which duties actually support councils in carrying out their functions and which ones serve to create unnecessary burdens and should be removed.

A draft list of over 1,200 duties stemming from primary legislation that Departments across Whitehall are responsible for will be available online today at We aim to build the list further with contributions, comment and challenge from local government and the public. The House will be kept informed of progress.

I have placed copies of the initial lists of duties placed on local government both by my Department and by other Government Departments in the Library of the House.