Local government minister Hilary Armstrong has warned councils that Whitehall will not accept lack of time and resources as valid excuses if they fail to undertake proper public consultation while implementing best value.
Legislation for the government’s best value regime is due to be put in place by the end of July and councils must ensure plans are ready for implementation next April. The government’s statutory guidance on implementation will be published soon.
Speaking to Accountancy Age, Armstrong said: ‘I am not saying nobody is doing anything. Some (councils) are doing tremendous things and I want to make sure every authority has worked out this is a real change and they need to act.’
Some councils have found that an integral part of best value – to consult as widely as possible with the local community – is a difficult, costly and time-consuming task.
‘Those councils who say they do not have the time or resources are not being imaginative and creative. Small authorities should be combining with maybe their counties,’ Armstrong warned. ‘I want the authorities who are still anxious about it all to learn from what other authorities have been doing. Time and resources are not an excuse.’
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