Thomas Bridge 23 February 2015

Pickles attacks ‘corrosive’ lobbying by local enterprise partnerships

Pickles attacks ‘corrosive’ lobbying by local enterprise partnerships image

Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will soon be banned from hiring lobbyists to win government grants, after communities secretary Eric Pickles claimed the practice ‘undermines transparency’.

Ministers are aware of at least six LEPs that have used public funds to hire consultancies to lobby Whitehall on their behalf, a practice banned for local authorities and quangos.

Pickles has today demanded every one of England’s 39 LEPs immediately terminates the contract of any lobbyists ‘on the books’, while outlining a new clause to clamp down on their use.

The so called ‘sock puppet clause’ will ensure grant payments do not support any activity that could influence Parliament, Government or political parties.

‘There’s nothing wrong with private organisations using their own money to hire commercial firms for advice, provided it’s done in an open and transparent manner. But it’s a wasteful, corrosive and zero sum game for the public sector to be using lobbyists, and just leads to higher taxes and more red tape. The public sector never lobbies for lower taxes and less state spending,’ Pickles said.

‘My department will be the first in Whitehall to introduce a no-lobbying clause in all grant agreements. If external groups are lucky enough to receive grants or win contracts with taxpayers’ money, it shouldn’t be spent on lobbying for more taxpayers’ money or more red tape. I hope we will can roll this out across central government, standing up for value for money and reining in the bureaucratic state.’

The communities secretary urged the country’s LEPs to ‘pick up the phone’ if they wanted to raise any issues with central government.

Cities minister, Greg Clark, added: ‘Local enterprise partnerships should follow the principles that apply to government and local authorities, which prevents any expenditure incurred in retaining the services of lobbyists to influence public officials, members of Parliament, political parties or the government.

‘If local enterprise partnerships have any specific concerns or points they would like to put across to government then they can easily talk directly to myself, other ministers or officials. This will both be more effective, and ensure appropriate use of public funds.’

Managing short-term lets image

Managing short-term lets

Deborah Heather explores the issue of homestay rentals and managing short-term lets within council boundaries.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Practitioner - Children in Care

Essex County Council
Negotiable
In Essex County Council we are "Serious about Social Work". Having recently won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year Award 2018 and been awarded England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Youth Offending Service Practitioner

Essex County Council
£30001.0 - £41000.0 per month
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

NCS Youth Work Team Leader|226446|ECC

Essex County Council
£19389.0 - £22558.0 per hour
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

NCS Youth Work Assistant Team Leader|226445|ECC

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Youth and Community Manager

Dunstable Town Council
£32,878 rising to £34,788 (pay award pending)
As Youth and Community Manager you will lead in the development and delivery of a range of services targeting young people Dunstable, Bedfordshire
Recuriter: Dunstable Town Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how public sector organisations can unlock the hidden value in their land, and why a new approach to construction could help boost the outcomes of the Government’s One Public Estate programme.

The December issue also considers why learnings from ancient cities could provide the key to promoting wellbeing in the modern built environment. It also contains a case study on how the London Borough of Westminster has provided high quality care for the elderly alongside a block of luxury apartments.

Register for your free digital issue