Devolution and public service reform

Overview

Devolution and public sector reform means putting districts at the heart of devolution and the transformation of public service delivery, delivering those services that matter to residents the most.

As the prospect of devolution across the country becomes ever more real, districts are playing a pivotal role in the evolving local government landscape.

Working with central government, our partners and our communities, districts will develop solutions in our priority areas that create a more innovative, sustainable, independent and effective public sector, enhancing national prosperity and improving the lives of each and every one of our citizens and communities.

District Councils have a proven track record in devising innovative solutions to transform public services- delivering more for less.

The 2015 report ‘Building better collaboration: Improving collaborative behaviours in local government’ published by the University of Birmingham’s Inlogov centre showcased some of the innovative, district-led work, that has made services work better for residents. The report highlighted the leading role district councils are taking to ensure devolution improves services and outcomes for people and places through better collaboration.

And with devolution deals being developed and agreed across the country, the district appetite for increased freedoms and devolved powers is clear. Districts are working hard with government, alongside their county and LEP partners to develop new models for devolved delivery that will boost growth and transform public service delivery.

The District Councils Network wants to ensure that districts remain key partners in devolution discussions, deals and delivery. In particular, there are a number of key principles the DCN wants to see as part of the development of a more devolved local government system, namely:

  • Local solutions- there should be no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to devolution models and governance arrangements- it should be for local areas to decide what best meets the need of their locality. Devolution models should reflect functional economic areas – which make sense to local areas.
  • Double Devolution/Subsidiarity- Devolved arrangements should be firmly rooted in the principle of subsidiarity so that the right decisions on delivery are made at the right level. Some functions, such as strategic transport and blue light services, benefit from ‘regional’ scale whereas functions such as planning, housing delivery and economic development work most effectively when delivered from within functional economic areas, usually clusters of districts.
  • Finance must follow function- local areas need increased financial freedoms and flexibilities to ensure the benefits of devolution and growth can be realised. This will enable them to become more locally self-sufficient and support the more innovative, creative and efficient use of public resources.

For more information, contact: DCN@local.gov.uk

DCN UPDATES

District Councils’ Network welcomes new Secretary of State

District Councils' Network welcomes new Secretary of State Commenting on the appointment of The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP as Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government, Cllr John Fuller OBE, Chair of the District Councils...
Read More

District Councils’ Network responds to annual homelessness statistics

District Councils’ Network responds to annual homelessness statistics Responding to the official annual homelessness statistics for 2020/21 published today, Cllr Phil King, DCN spokesperson for Better Lives, said: “The Government’s interventions at the start of the pandemic and the support...
Read More

DCN gives evidence to HCLG Committee inquiry into Permitted Development Rights

DCN gives evidence to HCLG Committee inquiry into Permitted Development Rights The DCN welcomes this important report from the HCLG Committee following their inquiry into permitted development rights. We're pleased the Committee has recognised the legitimate concerns held by district...
Read More

District Councils’ Network response to decision on local government reform proposals in North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Somerset

District Councils’ Network response to decision on local government reform proposals in North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Somerset Cllr John Fuller OBE, Chairman of the District Councils’ Network, said: These decisions on North Yorkshire and Somerset are bitterly disappointing. In the...
Read More

DCN responds to Defra proposals for consistency in household and business recycling

DCN responds to Defra proposals for consistency in household and business recycling The DCN believes that local councils and communities- from our city centres to our rural hamlets, and everyone in between- should continue to be able to decide how...
Read More