Jeremy Beecham, chair of the Local Government Association, said:
'Public interest companies will only work if the governance and
locally. Accountability to users must not be confused with wider public
accountability as is happening with the government's proposals for
foundation hospitals. The best way to secure public accountability is
through democratically elected local councils.
The success of a wide range of innovative public services for which local
councils are accountable but not involved in the day-to-day management have
demonstrated the benefits of this model. Greenwich Leisure is an example of
an innovative staff led 'Leisure Trust' structured as an industrial and
provident society which manages 26 public leisure centres in partnership
with four London boroughs.
We want to see greater freedom and flexibility to meet local needs, but it
is vital that councils, accountable to every member of the local community,
are at the heart of new localism.'
1. The LGA is pressing for the deputy prime minister to use his powers under
section 16 of the Local Government Act 1999 to allow councils greater
freedoms to exercise functions through arms-length companies where this
benefits local people.
2. More information about Greenwich Leisure is available here.