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Levelling Up Committee launches inquiry on the Office for Local Government

24 November 2023

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee has today launched an inquiry on the Office for Local Government (Oflog), looking at the remit of this new body and how it will engage with local authorities to help raise performance and improve outcomes for people and places.

The inquiry will examine how Oflog will support the Government’s set aims of levelling up, explore Oflog’s use of data and how this will help local government performance and enable the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to better support local improvement.

As part of the launch of the Committee’s inquiry, Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, has also written today to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with a series of questions in relation to the role and priorities of Oflog.

Chair's Comment

Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee Chair,Clive Betts MP, said: “The new Office for Local Government has multiple objectives, tasked with providing local government with better data to help improve performance while also equipping Whitehall with a further tool to exercise accountability to central government.

“In our new inquiry, we want to examine how Oflog intends to manage its remit and serve the public by making data on local services more transparent and accessible.

“In a climate of continuing financial pressures on councils and rising demands on services, we also want to assess how far Oflog will work in partnership with local government to help improve performance. How much independence will Oflog exercise in supporting local councils? Will Oflog be able to come forward with meaningful and effective data which aids councils in service delivery rather than acting as a resource pressure for local authorities?”

The key questions for the Committee inquiry are included in the full terms of reference (which are listed further below).

Oflog is a new performance body focused on local government in England. In launching Oflog, Secretary of State Michael Gove claimed, “It will provide authoritative and accessible data and analysis about the performance of local government, and support its improvement.”

Oflog says its strategic objectives are to empower citizens with information about their local authority and to increase both local and central government’s understanding of local government performance. In doing so they aim to support improvements, highlight excellence and identify risks of failure. You can find out more in their policy paper published earlier this year.

Evidence sessions for this inquiry are likely to begin in early 2024.

Terms of Reference

The Committee welcomes written evidence on the terms of reference outlined below.

The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 9 January.

  • What is Office for Local Government (Oflog)’s intended purpose and is it on-track to achieve it? 
  • What problem is Oflog seeking to resolve? What, for example, can Oflog contribute to data and local government that is not already being done by bodies such as the LGA? 
  • What degree of independence does Oflog have from DLUHC and how will this impact its work? 
  • Should the Government ensure that Oflog supports the Government’s set aims of levelling up and if so, how? 
  • How should Oflog engage with local authorities and other stakeholders? 
  • How can the Government ensure Oflog is not an additional resource pressure for local authorities?  
  • Will Oflog make it easier to identify financial problems further in advance? 
  • The Government has suggested there will be an annual report for Oflog. How should this data be verified and by who?  
  • What data should Oflog collect and why? 
  • How can the Government ensure Oflog collects data as efficiently as possible? 
  • How should Oflog select the data sources that it uses to develop outcome measures? 
  • Which areas of Oflog’s focus currently lack adequate published indicators? 
  • Could Oflog support cross-departmental approaches to policy solutions and initiatives? 
  • How can the Government explore how Oflog might support the NHS and other anchor institutions locally? 
  • How will Oflog support central Government’s understanding of local areas and the challenges communities face?

Further information

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