Eric Pickles has been as good as his word in opposition. He is letting Councils out of jail. His blistering pace of reform includes scrapping Comprehensive Area Assessments, regional plans and top down housing targets.
Out goes all that box ticking, gold star and black mark awarding and all that national and regional bureaucracy. In comes more direct accountability of Councillors to electors. If the Council messes up or annoys you, it is the Councillors fault and not some regional quango or remote Minister pulling the strings. When we recommended sweeping away this bureaucracy in the Economic Policy Review it was a £2 billion overhead. It is doubtless much dearer today.
The question now, is will your Council flourish with the new freedoms? Are they happy to get out of jail, or do they secretly wish to have the Ministerial authority figure back in charge?