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LGA TO DECIDE IF THREE HOMES ARE BETTER THAN ONE

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Next week the Local Government Association will have to decide if it is going to occupy one, two or three buildings...
Next week the Local Government Association will have to decide if it is going to occupy one, two or three buildings when it goes live next April.

There are fears that failure to have one headquarters could replicate the mistake made by the Local Government Management Board - it is widely recognised that the LGMB's decision to persevere with sites in London and Luton, when it was formed in 1991 from two other organisations, has prevented it from being managed coherently.

Next week the LGA's policy and strategy committee will receive a report on property options from consultants Hillier Parker. The main three options are: use the Association of District Councils' offices and an adjacent building; use the ADC and Association of Metropolitan Authorities' buildings; or move into new offices in Great Peter Street, which is also in Westminster.

Some people want to use the Association of County Councils' building in Eaton Square, but this is generally recognised as being unsuitable.

When the LGA was established it was agreed the three groups of authorities would each keep their existing assets. If the LGA uses any of the existing buildings it will have to pay rent, and has committed to find other occupants for space it does not use.

-- Next week's meeting will receive a recommendation that the first LGA conference, next July, be held in Manchester.

Following LGC's story that the conference may be moved to Harrogate unless Manchester ends uncertainty over whether it will join the LGA (LGC, 2 August), the council's leaders have indicated it will join if its concerns about the political structure are addressed.

-- The DoE has seconded John Roberts from its housing directorate to the LGA 'for a year or so'. Mr Roberts has previously worked in the economic secretariat of the Cabinet Office and the DoE's local government finance division. LGA chief executive Brian Briscoe said: 'John will advise and support me, other staff and members in building more effective relations with central government.'

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