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Bringing order to chaos: How does local government hold to account agencies delivering public services?

Bringing order to chaos: How does local government hold to account agencies delivering public services?

Research published by APSE and written and researched by the Local Governance Research Unit at De Montfort University explores how public services, and the decisions made about them by unelected bodies, can be held to account by local government as an elected governing body. Moreover, it seeks to understand the developing and expanding role of local government as both a vehicle for public accountability and in influencing and shaping the governance networks within which it exists.

The report ‘Bringing Order to Chaos. How does local government hold to account agencies delivering public services?’ makes a series of recommendations including:  

  • A Local Public Accounts Committees should be formed by all councils and be given the same statutory powers over external agencies as has health scrutiny in relation to the NHS
  • Securing public accountability must be developed as a role for all councillors and not restricted to a functional overview and scrutiny committee process
  • Robust accountability processes need to be put in place for all arms-length bodies created by a council. Mechanisms must be put in place whereby all other councillors are able to challenge, question, seek justification from and influence the actions of arms-length bodies and scrutiny and full council should be engaged in such a process.
  • Councils should produce a local ‘governance framework’ policy document which identifies all those organisations with which the council interacts and which creates a shared vision of the development of public services across the councils area
  • Councils should create a ‘governance forum’ where all those organisations with which the council interacts, can regularly meet to ensure a co-ordinated approach to public service delivery and long-term planning for service development and contribute to the ‘governance framework’
  • There should be a legal requirement – through an extension of the principle of a ‘duty to co-operate’ - on all public service providers to engage with local government, at the earliest possible time, when developing policy and taking decisions about public services 

The full report is available to download for free. To purchase a hard copy, please complete the form below.

For further information, please contact Mo Baines at APSE on 0161 772 1810 or email mbaines@apse.org.uk

 

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Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

           

 

          

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