Move to repeal decision-making duty sparks row
Questions have been raised regarding the repeal of councils’ duty to involve the public in the local decision-making process.
Local government consultant, Davy Jones, has attacked the move, claiming it takes away a legal safeguard for local people.
‘Cynically, we have to wonder whether the Government feared that the duty provided those fighting local cutbacks with a potential legal weapon to prevent them and hence, acted to get rid of it,’ Mr Jones said.
But, writing on The MJ’s website LocalGov.co.uk, Mr Jones also said it went against the idea of the Big Society and direct community involvement. ‘It will give succour to those officers and councillors who feel “they know best”,’ he added.
The new guidance by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will see the 2008 Creating strong, safe and prosperous communities statutory guidance being scrapped.
The document, which was more than 50 pages in length, has been replaced with the one-page best value document, in an attempt by the DCLG to reduce local authority red tape and create ‘minimal, light touch’ guidance.
According to the DCLG, the change will ‘remove barriers and burdens which ministers believe currently forces councils to focus more on working to top-down priorities than on serving their local communities’.
Communities secretary, Eric Pickles, said: ‘I’m offering a social responsibility deal for town halls. I’m tearing up the unreasonable Whitehall red tape which costs them money and wastes their time. In return, local councils should treat local community groups with the full respect they deserve.
‘I’m not asking councils to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself, so all central government departments are also signing up to these fair new standards.’Davy Jones looks at the Government announcement to end 'Duty To Involve'.
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