In October of 2010, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government announced – as part of the government’s drive to boost localism and reduce bureacracy – his intention to reduce the amount and complexity of data which local authorities are required to provide to central government for performance monitoring purposes. In particular, he announced that the “National Indicator Set” was to be replaced with a single comprehensive list of all the data returns central government expects local authorities to provide. Apparently, these requirements involve thousands of datasets and the employment of high numbers of full-time staff.
How has this drive progressed? Not very well, according to the Local Government Association.
The LGA welcomed Mr Pickles’ announcement and the Department’s consultation on its ‘Reducing Data Burdens’ Code of Practice. It announced yesterday, however, that it is “disappointed at the scale of the reductions proposed so far and remain unconvinced about the extent of the Government’s ambition to minimise the reporting burdens it imposes on councils”. It provides this example: for the 45 data items or collections that have been stopped, another 18 new ones have been introduced.
It calls for “an immediate and significant reduction in the data Government requires of local government”. See the details of the LGA’s position here.