the Blair second term. In its summer review due to be presented to delegates
at the forthcoming annual conference, the LGA's achievements in influencing
the policy debate, is set against a clear message that 'Whitehall's grip on
The LGA review, 'Loosening the Grip' details the association's success in
demonstrating that delivering better public services depends on councils and
other local bodies being free to reflect local needs.
It is hoped that these issues are addressed by the leaders of all three
political parties in their speeches to the conference next month.
The review says: 'We had a major impact on the local government white paper.
It supports less regulation and more local autonomy. It backs our idea that
government and council's should agree shared priorities.
'But we have seen an education bill which threatens statutory ringfenced
funding and gives more powers to the secretary of state. And progress with
the comprehensive performance assessment of councils is more evident than
the delivery of ambitions freedoms and flexibilities to them.
'The reality is that, despite our efforts, too many in government see
central prescription as the answer. Too often the response to problems on
the ground is a new national initiative. Councils are too constrained, both
financially and in terms of their ability to act.
'Whitehall's grip is too tight. This reviews explains how we are addressing
1. A full copy of 'Loosening the Grip' the LGA summer review 2002 is
available on the LGA website .
2. These issues will feature in the debates taking place during the
programme of events scheduled for the LGA's annual conference (2-5th July 2002 at the Bournemouth International Centre).
3. Speakers at the conference include; Jeremy Beecham, chair of
the LGA, John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, Iain Duncan
Smith, leader of the Conservative Party, and Charles Kennedy,
leader of the Liberal Democrat Party.
4. A copy of the full LGA annual conference programme is available on the
LGA website .