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The Association of District Councils has given another boost to Labour's plans to reform local government, writes J...
The Association of District Councils has given another boost to Labour's plans to reform local government, writes Jake Arnold-Forster.

The ADC will publish a report next week with the Local Government Management Board which broadly supports the separation of executive and other functions in councils. This includes Labour leader Tony Blair's favourite option of creating elected mayors.

The report - written by consultant Steve Bullock and professor Robin Hambleton - is likely to further irritate other senior association members who have been unhappy with the ADC's accommodating attitude to Mr Blair.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, chairman of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, is known to be suspicious of ADC research, suggesting that it might prove difficult for a future Labour government to remove capping and restore local business rates.

Sir Jeremy, and AMA deputy chairman John Harman, do not support elected mayors.

Other ADC reports have supported a role for central government in ensuring council's provide competitive services.

This latest report - trailed at a seminar of 40 council leaders at the ADC's annual conference last month - looks at ways of separating the executive from the representative 'assembly' of the council.

It explores whether a cabinet or single executive should be elected directly - possibly by the French list system - or by other members of the council.

The report says a government might have to encourage the division between the executive and representative functions of local members. For example, a government might give special executive powers or offer salaries to executive members of a council.

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