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SINGLE ASSOCIATION COMES UNDER FIRE

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Plans to create a single local authority association fail to take sufficient account of councils' changing role and...
Plans to create a single local authority association fail to take sufficient account of councils' changing role and would create a 'monolithic' decision making process, according to Nottingham City Council Chief Executive Ted Cantle.

In a paper on the local authority associations' proposals to merge by April 1995 which was discussed at a meeting of city chief executives last week, Mr Cantle suggests a federal structure. 'Little account is taken of the changing role of local government: the proposed constitution and working arrangements reflect local government as it is, rather than as it should be. This seems to be a wasted opportunity', the paper says. A federal structure would be made up of a core policy, human resources and lobbying association; a services section which councils would join 'in proportion to the services for which they are responsible'; and a specialist section which councils with political, geographical or other particular interests could join. Mr Cantle's paper follows recent fears about the single association among senior Conservative council members. Simon Day, Conservative group leader on the Association of County Councils, rebuffed an attack from Association of Metropolitan Authorities Chairman Jeremy Beecham.

Mr Beecham wrote to Mr Day on Monday to complain about his thoughts on the single association which were reported in last week's LGC. 'I was astonished to read in this week's LGC that you appear to fear that the Conservative Party will have no voice in a single association', the letter says. Mr Beecham said Mr Day was present at meetings which made clear that the rights of all parties would be guaranteed. Mr Day reaffirmed his belief that 'the Conservatives must be heard' in the new association. He said Mr Beecham had 'overeacted'.

He was surprised he had not written to Sir Peter Bowness, AMA Conservative group leader, whose criticisms of the single association went further than his own, he said.
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