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Replacing bureaucratic accountability with democratic accountability

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles pledges to end a culture of paper chasing today as the Department for Communities and Local Government publishes…

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles pledges to end a culture of paper chasing today as the Department for Communities and Local Government publishes latest performance and spending data for 2009-10.

The data relates to the performance of the previous administration.

As a consequence of the change in administration and the ending of the previous Government’s performance framework individual Departments are not publishing Departmental Annual Reports this year. Instead each Department is required to publish a table setting out the latest information on its performance and a series of financial tables.

One of the Communities and Local Government tables published today gives latest information on performance on the Department’s Public Service Agreement and Departmental Strategic indicators. Other tables include detail on Departmental spending (including contributions to local authorities in the area of Departments responsibility) in 2009-10 and the five preceding years.

Of the 52 indicators included in the table:

  • 21 of the associated targets were on track to be met, seven were deemed to be off track, 12 at risk, one not met and 11 were partially or wholly not yet assessed
  • targets deemed at risk included the number of affordable homes being built and reduction in planning applications subject to appeal
  • the target to have seven out of eight regional spatial strategies (the previous government’s strategy to deliver more homes) in place by 2008-09 was not met
  • targets on track for delivery included plans to regenerate East London as part of the Olympic Legacy programme; reductions in the number of fires and fire related deaths and a decrease in the number of people who feel that racial or religious harassment is a problem in their local area

The Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:

Complex, ever shifting targets and paper chasing hasn’t built homes or created a fairer planning system. For too long those tasked with working for the public have been tied up by red tape that has stifled innovation in favour of indicators.

We are moving away from bureaucratic accountability to democratic accountability. We are doing away with endless tick boxing. We want civil servants to spend less time form filling and more time just getting on with the job.

Fifty something targets and objectives have been replaced by a clear and simple plan. We have set out what this Department is all about and what it is going to do and we will be accountable for delivering that to the people, not the Government machine.

Changes to the way that Government reports to the people are part of sweeping measures to remove swathes of centralising diktats and cut red tape.

Notes to editors

  1. The Communities and Local Government 2009-10 financial and performance tables can be found at

  2. The following table shows the Departmental Strategic Objective and Public Service Agreements and assessment of performance (see ‘Related downloads’ below).

  3. The Communities and Local Government Draft Structural Reform Plan was published on 8 July 2010 -

The plan sets out a new 18 month programme for the Department that will deliver radical decentralising and transparency reforms that put citizens and councils in control of their communities.

The plan sets out the department’s five priority actions for making localism and the Big Society part of everyday life by:

  • decentralising power as far as possible
  • meeting people’s housing aspirations
  • putting communities in charge of planning
  • increasing accountability
  • letting people see how their money is being spent

PDF, 40 kb, 6 pages


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Published 4 August 2010