Trust frontline staff to deliver local services, urges LGA chairman

    Chairman of the Local Government Association Sir Sandy
    Bruce-Lockhart has called for a “radical decentralisation” of
    government spending, arguing that frontline staff such as social
    care workers and teachers were not being trusted to deliver
    services, writes Sally Gillen.
     
    Speaking at the Local Government Association annual conference in
    Bournemouth, he called for a greater freedom and autonomy for local
    authorities, adding “the burden of bureaucracy has sapped the heart
    out of public services”.
     
    Over the last 15 years there had been an “extraordinary” rise in
    quangos and 80 per cent of spending in local areas was administered
    by them, leaving just 20 per cent to be spent locally.
     
    “A bonfire of quangos, agencies and task groups must start now. The
    powers and resources should be returned to local government,” urged
    Bruce-Lockhart.
     
    He added: “Across public services, too many local managers are
    forced to concentrate on Whitehall priorities and the dead hand of
    national inspectorates. This should be turned around. Inspection
    should be dramatically reduced and proportionate to risk.
     
    “You trust people at the forefront of services or you do not…you
    simply cannot have it both ways.”

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