Place-shaping: a shared ambition for the future of local government
Lyons Inquiry Interim Report and Consultation Paper:
Questions asked in the report
The strategic role of local government
Question 1. What is the strategic role of local government? Is my description sufficient, or are there more elements you would add?
- Which elements of this role should extend to services other than those for which local government is directly responsible, and how?
- How does the strategic role vary between different types of councils?
Question 2. What tools do councils need to perform the strategic role more effectively?
- What are the existing barriers to councils performing this role effectively?
- In what circumstances does it work well and less well?
- Are further improvements in performance, efficiency and accountability needed before local government can most effectively play this strategic role and be trusted to do so?
- What are the key signs of success and failure?
Question 3. How important is the fact that local government is elected in relation to its ability and legitimacy to perform this role?
Devolution and decentralisation
Question 4. Which services (or parts of services) should meet national standards in all areas of the country? Which should meet minimum standards? Which should be entirely down to local choice?
- Are there aspects (such as standards setting, funding or choice of delivery mechanisms) of individual services which should be nationally controlled or locally controlled?
- Are there services where greater variation in standards would be acceptable if there was clearer accountability and consultation with local people?
Question 5. How has the Government's approach to devolution and decentralisation affected your area and your local services?
- Which aspects of the current system are helpful and unhelpful, and why?
- Have changes based on central government priorities differed from those that might have been driven by local pressure and opinion?
Managing pressures on local services
Question 6. How can pressures on local services be managed more effectively?
- What are the main types of pressures faced by local services and how are they currently managed?
- Which are the most difficult to manage and why?
- Would greater devolution of responsibility enable pressures to be managed more effectively?
- Does confusion about responsibility and duplication of effort contribute to pressures?
- Would greater public understanding of the actual costs of public services help to manage expectations and pressures?
- How can we ensure that the system provides the proper incentives and rewards for using resources efficiently?
Scope for a new agreement
Question 7. How could responsibility for local services be made clearer between local government, central government and other agencies?
- What might this mean for the current performance management framework?
- Would a more contractual approach for a small number of central priorities help to achieve this?