LGA conference: Cockell proposes public services rewire
Sir Merrick Cockell called for a radical rethink of public services at the LGA conference this week, saying that central government needs to listen to local government as a “trusted partner, not the office junior”. Ten demands have been set out by the LGA around funding, structure of local government, how money is distributed and how central government should respond. Needs-based funding, local treasuries, settlement tied to life of government and an “England office” comprising the merged departments of CLG, Energy, Culture, Transport, Environment and relevant parts of the Home Office and BIS were among the proposals.
Surrey, East Sussex to save £500,000
Surrey County Council has merged payroll, pensions and accounts with East Sussex County Council. The move, along with the sharing of Surrey’s data centre, should save £500,000 a year. The two councils had previously worked on procurement savings together.
Carbon Trust launches Waste Standard
The Carbon Trust is to launch an international standard for businesses and public sector organisations to certify that they are managing and reducing waste. The Waste Standard will involve organisations demonstrating how their waste streams are being reduced.
Controversy over Moorhouse redundancy
The chief operating officer and S151 of Westminster Council, Barbara Moorhouse, is being made redundant. Outgoing chief executive Mike Moore said: “Ms Moorhouse has made a significant contribution to future operations of the council and leaves us with a strong financial foundation, an innovative managed service contract and a successful operating model for our Tri-Borough programme.” The opposition Labour councillor has called on Eric Pickles to investigate the move asking him to investigate the reasons behind the redundancy.
Controversy over Hone redundancy
Meanwhile an opposition councillor in Thurrock has also been questioning a S151 redundancy. Director of finance and corporate governance Martin Hone is to be made redundant and Conservative councillor Mark Coxshall said that the council had treated Hone “shabbily”. Hone’s replacement will earn £25,000 a year less than him.
LGA finds £14bn black hole
The LGA’s updated Funding Outlook Report has found that the 10% cuts announced in the recent Spending Review help to create a £14.4bn funding black hole by 2020. The deficit is growing at a rate of £100m a year faster than it was this time last year.
Sex shop ruling spells trouble for council charges
A change in European law may have rendered many councils’ licence charging unlawful, according to a top QC. Philip Kolvin QC recently secured a court victory over Westminster City Council when it was ordered to repay £1m in fees collected from Soho sex shops. Now up to 600,000 bars, shops and restaurants could be being charged illegally after a 2009 law change.