The commission on London Governance have today warned that the capital’s “future success could be threatened unless its governance is radically reformed to cope with extra demands on housing, police, health and education services.”
Made up of politicians from the London Assembly and the Association of London Government, the Commission has published ‘A new settlement for London’ – a report urging a shake-up of the way the capital is governed to better meet the unique needs of Londoners.
This is described as “the first major bipartisan review of London since the 1960s”.
Commission Members found that the clutter of institutions running London’s public services undermine attempts to engage communities with service providers. Ever more public services are being provided by quangos, central Government and its agencies, over which Londoners have no clear control.
There is confusion about who is responsible for what service, how to hold providers to account and how services are funded. Londoners also argued that central government should loosen its grip on the capital and give them more say in running their own affairs.
Cllr Hugh Malyan, Chair of the Commission, said: “A new roadmap to improve the quality, efficiency and value for money of public services would give Londoners more influence over the services they use. London faces many opportunities and challenges in the years ahead of the 2012 Olympics, but the capital’s governance is in need of reform. Public services are life changing and life enhancing and it is only right that people have a say in how they are shaped and delivered.”
The Commission is calling for a new settlement for London and proposes a package of measures to achieve this:
- Greater control for Londoners – Including a dramatic reduction of central government’s role in London’s affairs
- More responsibility for the Mayor – Taking control of London’s five Learning and Skills Councils
- Efficient public services – Greater role for the boroughs in health provision and one phone number for all public service enquires – similar to one in New York
- Enhancing local democracy – Strengthening local councillors by creating a statutory duty for them to be consulted by all public service providers
Bob Neill, the Commission’s Deputy Chair, said: “London’s government must respond to the challenges and aspirations of an expanding, young and ethnically diverse population. The capital is the powerhouse of the national economy, but there are pockets of deep deprivation and long-term unemployment that must be challenged. Good governance is not only about how large organisations are structured to make decisions – it is also about real people’s daily lives.”