Assignment: A paper responding to the call for evidence from an Inquiry held by the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee before the general election of May 2015. The full details of the call for evidence is in appendix one. You must read the call for evidence and respond to at least one of the questions.
(Appendix one) : Assignment two
Issues and questions: Prospects for codifying the relationship between central and local government
As the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee of the House of Commons, we have decided to conduct an inquiry to explore constitutional and practical issues around the possibility of codifying (or formally writing down) the principles and mechanics of the relationship between central and local government. As part of the inquiry, we intend to hold public evidence sessions with thinkers and practitioners from local government, with academics and think tanks, and with Ministers.
Our inquiry coincides with work by the Communities and Local Government Committee into localism. We are interested in some of the same issues, and some of our work may overlap, but our focus is different. We are co-operating closely to avoid duplication. It is likely that some people and organisations will want to respond to both inquiries.
This paper briefly sets out some of the issues and questions we are likely to cover in our inquiry. We would welcome responses to any of the questions raised.
Desirability of a codified settlement
Opinion on whether a codified settlement for local government should be a priority has been divided, as the Communities and Local Government Committee found in its 2009 report on the Balance of Power between Central and Local Government: A number of our witnesses have argued in favour of a constitutional settlement for local government utilising ‘constitutional’ legislation. They see benefits in terms of a stable framework in which to operate, and greater clarity about local government’s local place-shaping role. Above all, the legislation would be something for local government to deploy if it felt that central government was encroaching too heavily on its turf. As Lancashire County Council put it, “the ebb and flow of the local government debate over time points to a need finally to formalise the role of councils in the national political settlement.” However, Local council witnesses from Birmingham City Council and Manchester City Council, for example, wanted additional powers to enable them to make an immediate difference “rather than going through a period of constitutional change.” Sir Michael Lyons made clear in his report that he was “not seeking to enshrine the constitutional position of local government in law. Laws and agreements do not necessarily create relationships, and the initial steps towards the developmental approach need to be given time to bed in.”
Coalition Government policy
The Coalition Government promised to “promote decentralisation and democratic engagement, and … end the era of top-down government by giving new powers to local councils, communities, neighbourhoods and individuals”, as well as to promote the radical devolution of power and greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups, and to give councils a “general power of competence”. This general power of competence would be intended to give such authorities the ability to act in the best interests of their communities, even if specific legislation does not give those authorities the power to take the action they intend. Thus, no action (except for raising taxes) would be beyond the power of local government, unless that action was prevented by law. A “power of general competence” has been previously recommended by many local
?government organisations, including the Local Government Association, as well as by the Communities and Local Government Committee. It is expected that the power will be included in the Decentralisation and Localism Bill due to be introduced in the autumn of 2010. The Coalition Government has no formal policy on codifying the status of local government, but the Deputy Prime Minister has told the House of Commons that he “strongly” agrees that there is now “an opportunity to codify and formalise the relationship between central and local government”.
Two existing documents have been mooted as a possible basis for a codified settlement between local and central government.
The Central-Local Concordat of December 2007 between HM Government and the
Local Government Association “establishes a framework of principles for how central and local government work together to serve the public”.
The Communities and Local Government Committee found in 2009, however, that “nothing much appears to have changed as a result of the Concordat” and that none of their “local council witnesses felt that the Concordat had made any difference to central-local relations”. A number of their witnesses had called for the Concordat to be provided for in statute.
The Communities and Local Government Committee itself recommended that the
1985 European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by the Government in 1998, should be put on a statutory footing. The Charter commits the ratifying member states to guaranteeing the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities. It provides that the principle of local self-government shall be recognised in domestic legislation and, where practicable, in the constitution.
( Question ) TO BE ANSWERED 😐
1. Should the relationship between central and local government be codified?
Should codification of the relationship between central and local government be considered in the context of a wider constitutional codification?
How to respond to this paper
The Committee would appreciate receiving responses to any or all of the questions in this paper. Although some of the questions could be answered by a simple yes or no, it would be valuable to have fuller responses in order for us to understand the points being made. Some respondents may wish to concentrate on those issues in which they have a special interest, rather than answering all of the questions. Respondents may also wish to suggest any proposed recommendations for action by the Government or others.
Written responses to this issues and questions paper will usually be treated as evidence to the Committee and may be published. If you object to your response being made public in a volume of evidence, please make this clear when it is submitted.
please when you answering all the questions put which question is that answer for / supplying the questions to each answer.
Define the word Localism in the political content?
Explore the Constitutional and practical issues around codifying the relationship between the local and central government?
The constitutional advantages and disadvantages of codifying the relationship between the local and the central government?
Evaluate: The balance of power between local and central government ( now and then after codifying the relationship)? + see Appendix 1 for the benefit of codified the relationship.
Define the word Devolution + Decentralization.
Look at Desirability in the political term? + is it local level? and is it national level? + explore how quickly/fast they would to change? + use the Birmingham city council, westminester and one more from your own thoughts.
Discuss the general competent power of the national argument?
The Decentralism and localism bill 2010 (how ail the codified will achieve practically)?
How useful is the first document in ( Appendix ) ?
Is the relationship between local and central Government clear?
second document in the ( Appendix ), 1985 European charter of local government? + the view of: if we put them in state are they strong enough to provide a framework to codified the relationship between local and central government?
Argument for and against if Britain having a codified constitution?
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