The Queen’s Speech this week confirmed plans to scrap compulsory competitive tendering in local government and replace it with statutory principals of best value.
Councils will be forced to deliver services, according to clear standards, by the most effective, economic and efficient means available. The government believes this would strengthen accountability to local people and taxpayers, leading to better partnerships between local government and private and voluntary sectors.
The Local Government Association heralded the move as a victory. LGA chief Sir Jeremy Beecham said: ‘We welcome the fact that our two major priorities of best value and local government finance are to be included in legislation with consultation taking place on the draft Bill on internal management and ethics.’
CCT will be abolished in the Local Government (best value and capping) Bill because ministers believe it failed on these counts and is both inflexible and outdated.
The new best value powers will require local authorities to review all their services over a five year period and to set demanding targets for each service which will be published in local performance plans.
They will introduce new internal audit and inspection arrangements to ensure that local people have confidence in their authority’s performance. Ministers will get wide powers to intervene where local authorities are failing to provide best value services and to remove any obstacles to them working with others.
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