No surprises that the localism bill has been delayed. On our recent visit to CLG they were non-committal on a date, but are now suggesting that it won’t be out until the week starting 8 December.
According to LGC the official line is that the delay is caused by ‘congestion’ in the parliamentary diary. They speculate that it was actually because there were some disputes over some of the bill’s key proposals. Specifically – the plans over directly elected mayors.
Whatever the actual reason for the delay, this bill potentially has a number of elements that could be causing controversy. Take for example, the ‘general power of competence’, which is set to give councils the power to act in the best interests of their communities. This was originally put forward as the ‘power of general competence’ – we are still unsure whether this name change will weaken the power.
Then there is the definition of ‘community’. We understand that the Bill will be providing one. I do not envy the civil servant who is working on this.
This list of controversies could go on.
This bill is set to fundamentally change the way that communities are governed. Councils will be no doubt anxious to see the contents and understand their significance as soon as possible. But they shouldn’t hold their breath for a clear answer. It’s difficult to see how some of the paradoxes in the bill could ever be tied up.