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Central-Local Concordat

Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What changes they propose to make to the policies and working arrangements of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport following the signing of the Central-Local Concordat on 12 December 2007, both in general and in specific response to the agreement in the concordat (a) that “there should be a presumption that powers are best exercised at the lowest effective and practical level”; (b) that central government undertake to “progressively remove obstacles which prevent councils from pursuing their role, including reducing the burden of appraisal and approval regimes, the ring-fencing of funds for specific purposes and the volume of guidance it issues”, (c) that the number of national indicators should be “around 200”; (d) that in relation to the negotiation of new-style local area agreements “this objective will require major changes in behaviour and practice from central government departments, their agencies, government offices, councils and local partners”; and what is the process and timetable for such changes. [HL1726]

The Central-Local Concordat, agreed between the Government and the Local Government Association (LGA), on behalf of local authorities in England, was signed in December last year. It commits both parties to a framework of principles to secure a new relationship between central government and local government. Discharging the rights and responsibilities of central government and local government set out in the concordat will require major changes in the behaviour and practice of both parties. The operation of this agreement will be monitored on a continuing basis, through renewed central-local partnership arrangements.

We are discussing with the LGA how we take forward the concordat, focusing on its guiding principles and specific commitments. These include encouraging councils to make effective use of their power to promote the well-being of their area; enabling local government to conduct a growing share of the business of government; central government consulting and collaborating with councils in setting national policies and proposing legislation; reducing the burden of appraisal and approval regimes and the volume of guidance issued by central government to local authorities; supporting and encouraging strong leadership and effective partnership working at local level; and increasing local democratic accountability of key public services.

A single set of 198 national indicators for local authorities and local authority partnerships was announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 and consultation on detailed definitions of the set concluded on 21 December 2007, with the aim of announcing final decisions in February.

Local authorities across England are currently engaged in discussions with government offices on behalf of all government departments on the content of new-style local area agreements, which will have effect from 2008-09.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What changes they propose to make to the policies and working arrangements of the Department for Transport following the signing of the Central–Local Concordat on 12 December 2007, both in general and in specific response to the agreement in the concordat (a) that “there should be a presumption that powers are best exercised at the lowest effective and practical level”; (b) that central government undertake to “progressively remove obstacles which prevent councils from pursuing their role, including reducing the burden of appraisal and approval regimes, the ring-fencing of funds for specific purposes and the volume of guidance it issues”; (c) that the number of national indicators should be “around 200”; (d) that in relation to the negotiation of new-style local area agreements “this objective will require major changes in behaviour and practice from central government departments, their agencies, government offices, councils and local partners”; and what is the process and timetable for such changes. [HL1747]

The Central-Local Concordat, agreed between the Government and the Local Government Association (LGA), on behalf of local authorities in England, was signed in December last year. It commits both parties to a framework of principles to secure a new relationship between central government and local government.

The Local Transport Bill currently under consideration includes measures designed to improve transport governance, particularly in cities, by enabling authorities to propose changes designed to strengthen leadership and delivery. Crucially this allows for different arrangements in different areas, designed to meet their particular needs, and will ensure that powers are exercised at the most effective level.

The emphasis of local transport policy for the past decade has been on enabling and supporting authorities to determine and tackle their own transport priorities, and the great majority of transport funding support has been through non-ring-fenced allocations in the single capital pot and revenue support grant. We have announced further steps to include a number of further grants within the area-based grant, which councils will be free to use as they think fit. The Department for Transport is also currently consulting on its approach to appraisal, taking into account the needs and priorities of users.

A single set of 198 national indicators for local authorities and local authority partnerships was announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 and consultation on detailed definitions of the set concluded on 21 December 2007, with the aim of announcing final decisions in February. Local authorities across England are currently engaged in discussions with government offices on behalf of all government departments on the content of new-style local area agreements, which will have effect from 2008-09.

A number of multi-area agreements, which may be particularly suitable for transport delivery, are also in development.

We are keeping in close touch with the LGA as we take forward the Concordat, focusing on its guiding principles and specific commitments.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What instructions and advice are being given to the Arts Council and its regional organisations concerning changes to their policies and working arrangements following the signing of the Central-Local Concordat on 12 December 2007, both in general and in specific response to the agreement in the concordat (a) “that there should be a presumption that powers are best exercised at the lowest effective and practical level”; (b) that central government undertake to “progressively remove obstacles which prevent councils from pursuing their role, including reducing the burden of appraisal and approval regimes, the ring-fencing of funds for specific purposes and the volume of guidance it issues”; and (c) that in relation to the negotiation of new-style local area agreements “this objective will require major changes in behaviour and practice from central government departments, their agencies, government offices, councils and local partners”; and what is the process and timetable for such changes. [HL1912]

The Central-Local Concordat, agreed between the Government and the Local Government Association (LGA), on behalf of local authorities in England, was signed in December last year. It commits both parties to a framework of principles to secure a new relationship between central government and local government. This framework will apply to non-departmental public bodies, including Arts Council England. Discharging the rights and responsibilities of central government and local government set out in the Concordat will require major changes in the behaviour and practice of all parties. The operation of this agreement will be monitored on a continuing basis, through renewed central-local partnership arrangements.

We are discussing with the LGA how we take forward the Concordat, focusing on its guiding principles and specific commitments. These include encouraging councils to make effective use of their power to promote the well-being of their area; enabling local government to conduct a growing share of the business of government; central government consulting and collaborating with councils in setting national policies and proposing legislation; reducing the burden of appraisal and approval regimes and the volume of guidance issued by central government to local authorities; supporting and encouraging strong leadership and effective partnership working at local level; and increasing local democratic accountability of key public services.

Local authorities across England are currently engaged in discussions with government offices on behalf of all government departments on the content of new-style local area agreements, which will have effect from 2008-09.