An uncomfortable truth

By Mark Rogers | 04 August 2017
  • Mark Rogers

Recent events at Kensington & Chelsea RLBC and Lancashire CC have put the place of sector self-determination and, the focus of this article, sector-led improvement (SLI) back in the spotlight. It has been curious to observe a number of those in local government give the thumbs up to a role for central government in intervention – even when carefully placed as the option of last resort. 

Generally speaking, I am a keen pluralist when it comes to how knotty issues, including failure, are assessed and addressed: the more brain power and disruptive thinking the better – both from within and without the family of councils. But there is one aspect of local government about which I am an unashamed absolutist - and that is in respect of the word local. I have said before that councils are not a licensed franchise of central government. They form the independent sub-national tiers of democratic representation and are, therefore, first and foremost, accountable to their enfranchised citizens – not Parliament.

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