The District Councils’ Network has today’s developments relating to the launch of Oflog, the Office for Local Government. Speaking at the Local Government Association conference, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove made a case for the new regulator. Meanwhile, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities launched its Local Authority Data Explorer.
In response, Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Chairman of the DCN, said:
“Councils and the residents we serve have a shared interest in making sure our services are as good as possible and improving when they are not. If the Office for Local Government (Oflog) can help us to do that without infringing local sovereignty and discretion, it would be positive.
“The Data Explorer launched today is only a modest first step. The District Councils’ Network is grateful that the Minister for Local Government has listened to some of our concerns by adapting the Explorer to steer clear of metrics which would have been misleading and to include a more rounded set of data. Nonetheless there is clearly scope for the first set of metrics to be refined.
“More fundamentally, there is a long way to go before Oflog can show it is really adding value. The DCN remains keen to work with ministers, civil servants and the rest of local government to build a system which we can all agree is of genuine use in improving councils. But it is critical that this is done by empowering councils and by respecting local democratic accountability rather than becoming another vehicle for disproportionate central control.”