Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Fears over pace of LGA reform

  • Comment
Delays in the Local Government Association’s radical restructuring risk paralysing the Improvement & Development Agency, senior figures have warned.

A letter has been sent by Ian Swithenbank (Lab) and Nick Skellet (Con) the chair and vice-chair of the IDeA respectively to LGA chief executive Paul Coen , raising concerns about how the development strategy could hamper the agency.

Cllr Swithenbank told LGC he was unable to start the search for a replacement for the agency’s outgoing executive director Lucy de Groot until he knew how the post would fit in with the restructure. Under the plan, the IDeA and other bodies in the ‘local government family’ will be brought in-house to the LGA.

“We need the LGA to give us an indication of the terms and conditions and salary levels so I can advertise the job preferably while Lucy is still around,” he said. “I’m not saying it is damaging to the agency, but it certainly doesn’t help morale.”

Ms de Groot will leave the IDeA in the spring and Cllr Swithenbank said he would be “disappointed” if progress had not been made by Christmas.

With group leaders already dissatisfied with senior officers’ handling of the Icelandic banking crisis, one senior LGA source described the atmosphere at Local Government House as “febrile”.

“Everyone is edgy and wondering what’s going to happen next,” he said. “There are grave concerns linked to the slowness of the review. We don’t know the cause but we certainly can’t see any signs of progress.”

Edward Lord (Lib Dem), the chair of the LGA members’ task group which is overseeing the development strategy, said: “I am not unhappy with the speed of travel at the moment but we must make sure we do keep a reasonable pace.”

The row comes as attention is turning to a general election which is likely to place the association’s cross-party alliance under strain.

According to an LGA office holders’ group report, the association needed “to have sight of the issues which may expose fault-lines within our cross-party approach and a sense of how we handle those”.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs