Pickles attacks Whitehall’s ‘silo-based mentality’
Communities secretary Eric Pickles has disclosed he has slammed fellow Cabinet members for propping up Whitehall’s traditional ‘silo-based mentality’ - amid fraught Coalition discussions in the run up to the Budget on 20 March.
Addressing the All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Pickles praised local authorities for being the quickest, most adept and flexible part of the public sector.
‘I’ve felt that local government was much better at working together than the different departments of Government,’ Mr Pickles explained. ‘Sometimes, when we complain about the silo-mentality of local government, actually, we should take a good hard look at ourselves.’
Mr Pickles cited his experience in establishing the Troubled Families Unit, where local government colleagues were far quicker than civil servants to recognise the duplication and pointless form-filling hampering efforts to support chaotic households.
The communities secretary also said the future development of the sector was tied to the City Deals agenda and the amalgamation of pro-growth funding streams into what he termed ‘the Hezza pot’ – in honour of Lord Heseltine, whose ‘No stone unturned’ report is the cornerstone of the coalition’s growth strategy.
Merging local business rate pots was the next logical step for local authorities, Mr Pickles said, stressing the importance of sharing resources within localities.
In response to concerns raised about Lord Heseltine’s insistence local areas adopt the directly-elected mayor model to better co-ordinate economic recovery, Mr Pickles said he agreed with the concept. However, he added such local leadership arrangements would only come about when deemed a useful addition to governance arrangements.
Mr Pickles also defended Lord Heseltine’s stipulation that the next wave of City Deals should be forced to compete for their core growth package rather than simply negotiate with ministers.
‘How can I disagree with the king of the jungle?’ said Mr Pickles to appreciative laughter, extolling the former deputy prime minister’s role in regenerating Liverpool during the 1980s.
Bad Piffles, good Piffles: Watch out his praise is partly explained by LG's ability to handle big cuts in support (28% front loaded, remember). More whammies in the next CSR.Patrick Newman, ex local government, Stevenage, Added: Monday, 11 March 2013 11:43 AM
What, no reaction from J Smith to the fact that Mr Pickles considers local government to be the "quickest, most adept and flexible part of the public sector". That's praise indeed!R PURNELL, Added: Friday, 8 March 2013 12:07 PM
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