Should codification of the relationship between central and local government be considered in the context of a wider constitutional codification? 2. If codification. Q1 Chair: We will now move on to our session on the codification of the relationship between local government and central Government. Government response: the prospects for codifying the relationship between central and local government. This report sets out the committee's.
Outlined the steps that it had already taken to free local government in England from the control of Whitehall, such as removing the regional tier of government see Legal update, Government commits itself to abolishing Regional Strategies and returning decision-making powers to local councils and passing power down via the Localism Act LA with the general power of competence contained in section 1 of the LA reversing the position on local authority vires.Advanced Accounting - Accounting for State and Local Government
For more information, see Practice note, Localism Act Confirmed that responsibility for commissioning public health services has been decentralised to local government in the new commissioning structure for health services contained in the Health and Social Care Act Cited City Deals, a series of tailored agreements under which certain powers and funding will be transferred from central government to the city, as an example of what it is willing to devolve to help deliver economic growth at a local level, see Legal update, New City Deals launched.
Considered that, taking all of the above issues into account, local authorities have unprecedented freedom and power to innovate and support their communities and there has been a shift in the balance of power with local communities in charge of their own affairs. Codifying the relationship between central and local government The Committee recognised that the draft code was not a finished product and that central and local government should engage to define the code further.
In its response, the government: Referred to previous failures to codify the relationship, citing in particular the Central-Local Concordat. It believed however that these failures had occurred because such documents were about processes, rather than policy intended to improve outcomes.
Was concerned that, instead of liberating local leaders, the codified relationship proposed might simply focus energy on theoretical debate rather than shared endeavour, problem-solving and action.
Advocated an approach of introducing policies, linked to legislative changes where necessary. The centre knows no other way of relating to local government than through command and control, involving detailed prescription, often masquerading as guidance, and ministerial rhetoric.
The behaviour of ministers and civil servants towards local government needs to change.
Simply urging them to do so will not be enough. Changes in the institutions and processes of public administration at the national level are essential. A statutory code A new pattern of central-local government relations is required through the enactment of a semi-constitutional statutory code expressing the principles of localism.
Whitehall departments would recognize a statutory code more readily than words that carry no legal weight. A statutory code is essential to grab the attention of central departments and make them behave differently in their daily work.
The purpose of the Code would be to provide criteria against which specific proposals from government and the legislature could be assessed, and general changes in central-local relations throughout the year appraised. The Code should recognise: Procedures for monitoring and enforcing the Code are necessary.
Within central government there should be a Cabinet committee supported by an official unit at the very centre— in the Cabinet Office, and chaired by the Prime Minister — to monitor the operation of the principles set out in the statutory Code, and to ensure its application in a consistent way by all departments.
The Prime Minister needs to be the Chair of the Cabinet committee to which the unit reports, to give it authority and punch. Just as important would be a joint committee of the two Houses of Parliament with responsibility for examining central-local government relations in accordance with the principles of the Code, reporting to parliament both with an annual review and on specific legislative proposals and administrative actions. A select committee of either House alone would not carry sufficient weight.