The Government is honouring the final instalment of performance reward grants, Local Government Minister Bob Neill said today.
£150m will be shared between 81 local authorities for meeting past targets and in line with the Government’s commitment to give councils more spending freedom the payments will be unringfenced so they can use it in the best way to protect frontline services.
The Government is ending the era of top-down central control. By cutting targets and driving more open transparent government local authorities will be accountable to the residents they serve rather than to central bureaucratic systems.
Performance reward grants were set up under the previous Government as a way of rewarding councils for meeting centrally set targets. In October 2010 the Government announced it would end the bureaucratic and complex framework including rewards grant, National Indictors and Local Area Agreements, which made councils accountable to Whitehall rather than local people.
As part of this the Government announced that performance reward grants would not be paid for 2008-2011 Local Area Agreements. The reward grant being paid today is for agreements made before June 2008 and is being paid at a 50 per cent reduction.
In making these payments in this way the Government has struck a balance between the urgent need to cut the national deficit and secure economic recovery, whilst also recognising the achievements of councils and their partners who have worked together for their area.
Bob Neill said:
It is right that we give councils the money they expected from delivering previously held central target commitments, but a system that prescribes that their performance is judged by ticking bureaucratic boxes is outdated and facing the wrong way.
Councils should be focused on meeting the expectations of residents not on meeting bureaucratic targets to get extra funding. We trust local authorities enough to not micromanage every inch of the way - we want local government to be accountable to local people.
Notes to editors
1. A full list of the amounts of Local Area Agreement Reward Performance Grant paid to these councils can be found at www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/performancerewardgrant2010 and at the top right of this page.
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