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Staff are vital to the new localist approach now underpinning the debate on improvement, according to local governm...
Staff are vital to the new localist approach now underpinning the debate on improvement, according to local government minister Nick Raynsford.

The starting point for new localism is the fact the public is becoming increasingly demanding about the quality of local services, Mr Raynsford told delegates at LGC?s CPA and People Management conference in Earls Court, London.

But he said a second strand of localism relates to councils? capacity to deliver:

?There is a reservoir of talent in councils, but the new agenda requires new skills and capabilities, which are latent in some but can be tapped.

?People are a key driver for improvement, which means investment in training and development.?

The third strand of new localism is the range of freedoms and flexibilities now available to councils, and those in the legislative pipeline, he said.

In particular, he praised the work of the Innovation Forum, which he said ensures the shape of new freedoms is set by councils rather than being ?driven by central diktat?.

The days in which people used council elections to reward or punish the party in power nationally were over, he added.

Judging councils on the quality of the services they provide was a good and positive trend which was ?encouraging for the new localist agenda.?

But he warned: ?That doesn?t mean we don?t need to have national standards. People don?t expect to see a postcode lottery, they want to see a good standard of service universally.?

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