Mirza F. N. Ahmad, M.B.A., LL.M, Barrister
Chief Legal Officer,
DX : MDX 13053
Tel: 0121-303 9991, Fax: 0121-303 1312
Robert Posner MBA, Barrister
T: 020 7271 0500
The Right Honourable Hazel Blears MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
House of Commons
Dear Ms Blears MP
I refer to your attached article in the November 2007 edition of the Public Servant with regard to, “Freedom and flexibility – with financial strings attached” and welcome the Government’s continuing drive to devolve greater powers and freedom to Local Government so that it is better able to deliver what local people want and need, backed up with appropriate resources to deliver that agenda, but always being mindful, of Local Government’s responsibility to get its house in order and deliver greater value for money, efficiency and effectiveness for local citizens, businesses and partnerships.
It is with particular reference to local strategic partnerships and the role that Local Authorities play in partnerships with other public / private / voluntary sectors to deliver better local governance for their areas that I write to you to highlight a deficiency in the current legislative framework with regard to Local Authorities. I attach a paper setting out my thinking on the matter and possible solution(s) to the issue for consideration by you and your Civil Servants.
In view of the importance of the issues raised, I have copied this letter (and the covering briefing paper) to the people mentioned on the attached distribution list. I hope that we can all work together to clarify the law to avoid the difficulties highlighted in the covering paper, and ensure that we further improve governance arrangements at the local / regional levels.
I apologise for the length of the covering paper, but the issues are quite intricate and, based upon my own experiences in local government, I know they have caused anxiety for many responsible Monitoring Officers and are of great confusion to policy, finance and non-lawyer officers dealing with local strategic partnerships.
It is important, therefore, that we get these issues right, once and for all. I stand ready to support the national drive to further improve local governance arrangements.
Please note that the press has already shown a keen interest in this important area and they will be provided with a copy of the attached paper one week after today’s date in order to give you time to reflect on the issues. I look forward, therefore, to hearing from you.
cc Sir Simon Milton, Chairman of the Local Government Association
Paul Rowsell, Department of Communities and Local Government
Steve Bundred, Audit Commission
Tony Redmond, Chair and Chief Executive of the Local Government Ombudsman
David Prince, Standards Board for
Sir Anthony Holland, Standards Board
David Clark, Director General of SOLACE
Steve Freer, CIPFA
Alison Kelly, Audit Commission
David Carter, ACSeS
Hilary Kitchen, Local Government Information Unit
George Krawiec, North East Lincolnshire District Council
John Whiteoak, Chairman of CIPFA / SOLACE Good Governance Framework 2007
Tony Kilner, ACSeS