LETTER : Losing local councils: a recipe for chaos and confusion

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The Independent Online
From Mr Victor Gallant

Sir: Your leading article of 2 March ("A farewell to arm-wrestling") proposing the establishment of separate elected boards for schools, social services, transport, etc in place of local councils, is a recipe for chaos, confusion and buck-passing.

Local councils, whatever their faults, have overall responsibility for promoting the welfare of their areas and for developing the services to meet their needs. This has been diluted by the creation of a myriad of unaccountable quangos. But creating an even larger number of separate elected bodies is no solution. Who would ensure that services such as health, social care and housing are co-ordinated properly to meet community care needs? Who would ensure that health, education and social care services are properly co-ordinated to meet the needs of children with special needs? Who would promote the social welfare of the whole community, working with community and voluntary organisations, or promote economic regeneration, in conjunction with the private sector, training agencies and others?

Progressive local authorities are breaking down the traditional barriers between separate services to create new alliances within the local council and with partners outside the council. They are also creating additional and more sensitive forms of public accountability. This is the way to achieve greater responsiveness and effectiveness and better value for public money.

Yours sincerely,

VICTOR GALLANT

Executive Director

North Tyneside Council

Wallsend, Tyne and Wear

3 March

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