Council governance and accountability arrangements are key in securing value for money locally. However, these arrangements are being tested by the current financial circumstances in the sector. Increasingly difficult decisions need to be made to protect key services and ensure financial sustainability. This includes the design and delivery of large service transformation programmes and the pursuit of new sources of revenue income through commercial investments. Local governance and accountability arrangements provide assurance about decision making processes and support the mitigation of risk in this increasingly challenging and complex environment.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (the Department) is responsible for maintaining the overall accountability system for local government. Governance and accountability arrangements provide assurance both to departments on the local use of funds voted by Parliament and to the local communities to whom councils are accountable.
The study will examine key elements of local arrangements in the light of current pressures. It will also examine how the Department is exercising its responsibilities as the steward of the system.