The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s 10-year vision
of local government could map out the relationship social services
will have with health and education in the future,
writes Derren Hayes.
The paper sets out the main issues the government wants to examine
in developing a plan for what local government will look like in 10
years and how to get there. It is likely to be followed by a more
detailed document in September and culminate in a white paper next
One of the five main areas for consideration in the pamphlet is the
role of councils in delivering social care and education and how
they relate to other public services including health. Developing a
performance framework that is not dependent on central government
but encourages local accountability is also highlighted.
The balance of funding between central government and local
sources, citizenship and re-engaging communities, and political and
managerial leadership are other areas to be addressed.
One former social services director said the interface between
social services and health and education will be key battle
grounds, especially when considering most hospitals will be
foundation trusts and schools autonomous organisations within 10
Mike Leadbetter, head of the Practice Learning Taskforce, said the
debate should address council boundaries and whether health bodies,
such as primary care trusts, could be aligned alongside them.
But he said the ultimate issue will be around funding and
ring-fencing. “The government wants councils to spend a set
amount on social services while councils want the freedom to spend
budgets on what they want. How do you square that
The Future of Local Government from www.odpm.gov.uk