Local Government (Best Value) Bill: Final Stage

– in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:45 am on 26 February 2002.

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Photo of Dermot Nesbitt Dermot Nesbitt UUP 11:45, 26 February 2002

I beg to move

That the Local Government (Best Value) Bill (NIA Bill 19/00) do now pass.

As Members will know, the Local Government (Best Value) Bill has two main objectives: first, to repeal the existing provision for compulsory competitive tendering of specified council services; and, secondly, to establish a general duty on district councils to make arrangements for continuous improvement in the delivery of their services, having regard to what is tritely called VFM (value for money), namely economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Most importantly, they will also be required to consult local people on this matter. That is the essence of the Bill.

I thank the Chairperson and members of the Environment Committee for their frank and open views, which have helped to determine the provisions of the Bill. I also extend my thanks to the Members who participated in the debate at Consideration Stage. Officials in the Department have worked closely with district councils and other local government interests to ensure that best value is implemented in a structured way. I endorse that approach and agree entirely with my predecessor, Sam Foster, that such a partnership arrangement should continue in the months ahead.

Finally, there is still much work for local government officials to do in respect of best value developments. Reviews of best value are presently under way in England and Wales. The outcome of those reviews, and the progress on best value legislation in Scotland, may help to inform the process of developing best value and guiding local government in Northern Ireland.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved:

That the Local Government (Best Value) Bill (NIA Bill 19/00) do now pass.