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Total place - councils need clarity over new powers

4 June 2010

Opinions may vary about Total Place, but in light of the full coalition agreement and impending announcement of the emergency budget (expected 22nd June) there can be no dispute about two fundamental points – funding in the public sector will tighten over the medium term, and public sector organisations will need to give immediate thought to developing innovative service delivery which will deliver effective long-term savings.

The Conservative manifesto pledged that they would give local authorities a “general power of competence”, making it absolutely clear that local authorities have the power to take any step that will help save money from the public purse. This has made it into the coalition agreement but what is now needed is clarification as to how this power will operate. Without it progress is likely to be slow and local authorities could be forgiven for proceeding with caution following the recent ruling that the formation of the London Authorities Mutual Limited was illegal.

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