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Evidence to the Inquiry on Local Authorities and Commissioners. Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee.

Ferry, L. (2016) 'Evidence to the Inquiry on Local Authorities and Commissioners. Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee.', Project Report. House of Commons Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee, London.


I welcome this opportunity to submit written evidence to the Communities and Local Government Inquiry on Commissioners and Local Authorities. This reply draws on my personal senior level experience and recent published academic work on financial sustainability, accountability and transparency in central and local government. Overall, the main focus of my response concerns how the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) monitors the performance and governance arrangements of local authorities. With regards to historical context, it is important to note that external inspections and interventions are not a ‘new’ phenomenon for local government. Indeed, such processes at least date back to the early 19th century during the genesis of modern local government. In more contemporary times, in the 1970’s following serious maladministration and corruption in local government from the infamous Poulson scandal there was notably the Redcliff-Maud Committee and Salmon Commission that considered in some detail conduct and scrutiny arrangements for local government and then broader public services, and later in the 1980’s the Widdecombe Committee addressed politicisation concerns. All of these inquiries led to changes in codes of conduct, and from the 1990’s onwards these were supplemented with further developments not only in codes of conduct but also in corporate governance (Ferry and Funnell, 2014). In addition, throughout the 1970’s, there was an increasing call for value for money and a better measure of ‘performance’ as a complement to ‘conformance’ concerns, which among other things culminated in the establishment of the Audit Commission in 1982 and subsequent increase in value for money auditing practices (Campbell-Smith, 2008).

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Not peer-reviewed
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Publisher statement:This document is made available under an Open Government Licence -
Date accepted:28 July 2016
Date deposited:28 July 2016
Date of first online publication:27 June 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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