By Claire West
A detailed roadmap for reform outlining how Government can save billions of pounds by handing power to local people is published today by council leaders.
The White Paper, published by the Local Government Association, lays out how the Government’s spending review can cut bureaucracy and waste by giving people real control over public services in their area.
The document argues that local decision-making and accountability for frontline services from probation to health and social care through a system of local budgets can improve public services while cutting costs.
Savings outlined include:
Integrating health and social care budgets could save £6bn a year Joining up local services, reducing running costs and making better use of assets could save around £5bn a year De-regulating local government and cutting the Whitehall machinery responsible for regulation could save £4.5bn a year Cutting numbers claiming incapacity benefits by better joined-up local services could save £1bn a year Targeted local action to cut unemployment could save £1bn a year More co-ordinated help for young people out of work or education could save nearly £1bn a year Devolving quango responsibilities could save £600m a year Cutting out duplication in rehabilitation of offenders could save £500m a year Reforming bus subsidies could save £250m a year Improving help for young people by cutting the number of overlapping public bodies could save £200m a year. Baroness Margaret Eaton, chairman of the LGA said:
“Simplifying the way public services works and cutting out duplication will make it far easier for people to get the help they need to find work, get training or get help with dozens of issues from health to housing.
“More importantly still we need to take decisions out of the hands of unelected quangos and Whitehall civil servants and give them to local people. Where providers like GPs and colleges buy services on behalf of people, local councillors can champion the interests of local people.
“We need the Government to loosen the control of Whitehall and send a message that local people must come first and have a say over decisions that affect them.”