By Lucy Phillips
6 May 2011
Whitehall could save £1.5bn a year by slashing ‘unnecessary
and inappropriate’ statutory duties on councils, according to the Local
to the government’s consultationon local government statutory duties, the LGA has called for 50 duties to
be immediately scrapped and for many more to be reviewed. It is also seeking
the removal of the majority of statutory guidance notes and ministerial consent
for minor activities.
Eliminating such work would reduce the administrative burden
on central government departments by 20%, saving £1.5bn a year, the LGA claims.
LGA chair Baroness Margaret Eaton said: ‘The elimination of
statutory guidance notes and a root-and-branch prune of unnecessary duties
would not only ease the costly red-tape burden being placed on local
authorities, it would help government departments avoid unnecessary policy
work, saving them up to £1.5bn each year.’
The requirement to publish planning notices in local papers
(costing councils £40m a year) and to seek ministerial consent to use local
traffic signs are among the things they are calling to be scrapped.
Eaton added: ‘The government has an opportunity to
completely revise the existing culture of excessive bureaucratic oversight.
‘We are not seeking to abolish the statutory duty to provide
core services and protect the vulnerable. However, some of the duties currently
placed on town halls are perverse, unnecessary and run contrary to localism.
Bossy guidance telling councils how to collect rent, costly duplication in the
collection and reporting of data, and confusing and contradictory policy
guidance increase the administrative burden and make it harder for councils to
deliver the services people want in the way they want them.’
The consultation closed on April 25. A spokeswoman from the
Department for Communities and Local Government said it would respond to the submissions
in due course.