Fears raised over councils’ powers

The Local Government Association has urged the
government not to restrict new powers to top-performing

The call follows the announcement by local
government secretary Stephen Byers of the terms of reference for
the three-month Best Value review, due to report at the end of 2001
(News, page 8, 4 October).

Byers said the review would identify models of
service delivery that included cost-effective public-private
partnerships where these could help address poor performance in
delivering local services.

LGA chairperson Jeremy Beecham welcomed the
review, but expressed concern over possible limits on the powers.
He said: “Local authorities need wider powers to provide services
to others, whether this is to other councils, public or private

The review will also look at ways in which
Best Value can balance the delivery of high-quality services
against ensuring fair terms and conditions for staff delivering
those services, including incentives for better performance. New
regulations and guidance, and possibly a code of practice, will be
introduced for next April to reflect the review’s findings.

In addition, the review will identify measures
to tackle unfairness in the terms and conditions of staff,
especially those recruited following a transfer of services to an
external provider.

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