Stressing the importance of partnership Ms Armstrong said lack of
communication can lead to misunderstanding on both sides - and that
Ms Armstrong told a conference yesterday today:
'Our White Paper published in July makes clear we want to see
outward looking and responsive local government. Local government
that leads its community and in the process delivers high quality
services at an affordable price. Local government in partnership with
the public, private and voluntary sectors so as to bring a fresh
approach to service delivery.'
Research published yesterday (see LGCnet: `LGMB STUDY ON COUNCILS'
ATTITUDES TO PRIVATE SECTOR FUNDING - SUMMARY OF FINDINGS') shows there is still a gulf in understanding between the public and the private sectors.
'I welcome the publication of this research into local authority
views of the private sector and in particular private sector
funding,' said Ms Armstrong. 'The research is encouraging. Success
begins with the recognition of a mutual need and it is highly
significant that it is those authorities that have engaged most
closely with the private sector that are most aware of how far there
is to go in reaching a common understanding. 'Much has already been
achieved but this research shows we cannot underestimate the task
The minister highlighted some action the government has already taken
to improve these relationships. These include:
six new Best Value Partnership Network pilots;
development of Private Finance Initiative in local government-66
endorsed in England;
quick progress of Local Government (Contracts) Act;
research into the development of new public/private partnerships to
produce Best Practice guidance.
The minister also welcomed other initiatives from the 4Ps and Local
Government Association which are enhancing communications.
Ms Armstrong added:
'Effective partnership does not happen because government wills
it. It needs both partners to recognise where the other is coming
from - to understand what each has to offer and to learn to share
lessons and avoid blame.'
- Copies of the research, by Fran Button Consultancy, into local
government attitudes towards the private finance community is
available from the Local Government Management Board, Layden House,
76-86 Turnmill Street, London EC1M 5QU. Price #25. This was jointly funded by DETR and LGMB.
The department has also jointly funded a complementary study of
private sectors funders' attitudes towards local authorities with the
British Bankers' Association. A full report from that study is due to
be published November 1998.
- The 4Ps is the Public/Private Partnership Programme Limited, a
dedicated unit established in April 1996 to help local authorities
develop PFI and other partnership initiatives.