Councils to get new powers to set goals

    The government has announced plans to set up new contracts with
    councils that will give them greater freedoms to tackle local
    problems.

    Local area agreements will see councils given new flexibilities to
    pool revenue streams from different government departments to spend
    on local priorities, such as those included under local public
    service agreements. Other statutory, voluntary and private sector
    organisations will be involved in the decision making
    process.

    Additional funds will be available for achieving the targets.

    The joint initiative by the Home Office and Office of the Deputy
    Prime Minister is to be piloted in nine areas in 2005-6 with a view
    to being rolled out across the whole of England in 2007. Pilots
    will be based around three key themes: children and young people,
    safer and stronger communities, and health and older people.

    The Local Government Association said LAAs could help join up local
    government “as long as they are democratically accountable through
    the leadership of councils”.

    National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service policy
    director Neil Cleeveley said LAAs would allow the sector to “help
    determine what local priorities should be, what the community’s
    needs are, and how services should be delivered”. 

    – LAA guidance from www.odpm.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2004_0183 

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