Our quality of life partly depends on the quality of local government but this vital sector has lost its way. Our Town and City Halls have become mere agents for Whitehall with much service provision farmed out to private contractors. Key municipal decisions are increasingly out-sourced to consultants which weakens democratic responsibility. The local state must rediscover confidence in its own capacity for the direct, economical provision of services and, in doing so, re-connect with local voters.
- The existing structure of local government will be maintained. However, Parish and Community Councils will have an enhanced role, particularly in the creation and maintenance of streetscape, parks and the public realm.
- Local authorities will strengthen and increase their capacity for the direct provision of core public services.
- An independent national audit will benchmark council performance against basic metrics – rubbish collection, streetscape, road maintenance, overheads vs direct service personnel etc – one month before council elections. This will be sent to all households.
- No head of local government will be paid a salary more than the Prime Minister.
- Police and crime commissioners will be abolished. The oversight of policing will be the responsibility of police authorities comprising elected members from local government together with co-opted members from police unions, public interest groups, the NHS and the fire service.
- Local councils will be forbidden to make financial investments or speculations not directly related to service provision.
- A National Corruption Office will be established with full investigatory and prosecuting powers to deal with public allegations of fraud and corruption in local government.