MPs question City Deal accountability and effectiveness
The Department for Communities and Local Government must work with local areas to strengthen local scrutiny and accountability arrangements as City Deals are implemented, MPs have insisted.
In a report on the first wave of City Deals, the influential Commons Public Accounts Committee voiced concern over who was accountable for public funds devolved through this devolution. This issue was particularly important for devolved healthcare spending, it said.
The all-party committee was also concerned at a lack of monitoring and evaluation in the first wave of deals. This had made it difficult to assess their overall effectiveness.
MPs were critical of the fact that the administration could not explain clearly and simply whether responsibility for the outcomes of individual City Deal programmes rested with local or central government.
MPs proposed DCLG should agree a common approach to measuring and evaluating the outcomes of growth programmes, including job creation, with other government departments and local areas. This was needed “to ensure one geographical area is not ‘growing’ at the expense of another” argued the MPs.
Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said: “The fact that the Government cannot adequately explain where responsibility lies for the success or failure of City Deal programmes should sound an alarm.”
The Commons is currently considering the government’s latest legislation on this front, the cities and local government devolution bill.