Better communication required for central and local gov

Now more than ever, it is essential that the two engage well, because responsibilities such as public health are moving to local government, local authorities are playing a vital role in the government's decentralisation agenda, and substantial reductions in staff are causing pressure.

On a positive note, there is clearly goodwill on both sides and they are directing considerable energy at improving how they communicate with one another, the report said. However, the organisational differences between central and local government make communication very challenging.

The NAO pointed out that while most individual communications between central and local government were of good quality, there were so many taking place that poor ones could still have a significant impact.

NAO head Amyas Morse said: "As the local delivery of services becomes an ever greater concern of central government, how departments and local government communicate with one another becomes all the more important."

"Only when these issues are addressed can the knowledge of both central and local government be used to best effect to achieve the joined up services that local communities need."

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