Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Could the Government Office for London Be Abolished?

I walked back to the office earlier this afternoon along the north bank of the Thames. I walked passed the Government Office for London, which is right next door to Vauxhall Bridge.

I found myself wondering: why do we need a Government Office for London? According to its website it...
As part of the national Government office Network we work to help make sure that local services are delivered effectively for Londoners. We speak up for London when new policies are being developed by government departments and make sure that Londoners benefit from all the help which is available from central government. We fund and deliver a range of programmes on behalf of nine government departments. We work to bring together key people and organisations so that Londoners receive better services because everyone is working together. Since 2006 we have reduced our running costs by 30%. We have recently set ourselves 5 Key Aims for 2009/10.


Isn't that the kind of thing which could be done by City Hall and the Mayor?

One thing which every government department and quango needs to do is justify its existence. I'm not sure the Government Office for London will find that easy to do when (and if!) Mr Maude and his henchmen come knocking after 6th May.

UPDATE: For once I am in total accord with party policy. A London Borough Council leader emails me to tell me that it is already party policy to abolish the GOL and devolve its powers to the Mayor and Boroughs as appropriate.

11 comments:

tory boys never grow up said...

Given you recent interest in BA's industrial relations its somewhat suprrising that you have nothing to say about the agreement between BA and the unions on its pension defict, which is a very insignifcant issue to BA which is sometimes described as a pension scheme with an airline attached. Or UNITE's offer to call off the strike if BA put their offer back on the table.

But then on the other hand you are perhaps only interested in BA's industrial relations so as to make cheap political points?

Iain Dale said...

What a pity UNITE didnt talk about the offer on the table when it was originally submitted. Instead, they confirmed strike action.

norman said...

@Tory boys etc..Should be interesting to see Whelan and Mandy talking to each other! If BA goes down, what would Mandy day to Whelan" well done comrade?". Labour has no shame. BA strike would show the UNITE and Labour in true colour.

David Boothroyd said...

Who was it who was calling for GOL to be abolished years ago? (no peeking at the answer)

PS the Government Office for London was set up by a Conservative government.

Neil Reddin said...

I thought it was already party policy to scrap GOL.

If not, it bloomin' well should be.

Londonerr said...

It's funny I asked a similar question when we had a Govt. Office for London before the mayor was elected. We had a minister for London too. Why the need for a mayor if we have a minister?

Given such power and access, what was it this office of state couldn't achieve that required the setting up of an elected mayor? Seemed like a wasted opportunity to me.

Cynic said...

Even better, what do we employ London MPs for? Aren't they supposed to represent their constituencies?

Cynic said...

Great to see UNITE conspiring with those paragons of virtue in the USA, the Teamsters Union, which was only reformed after the Government hit it with an action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisation (RICO) Act and appointed an Independent Review Board to throw out those in the union those with more unsavoury connections.

John M Ward said...

Originally the Government Offices were simply the amalgamation of four government depts' existing regional structures.

It was a John Gummer idea, and I thought it was a very sensible one, removing duplication, allowing those structures to work together, and providing "one-stop shops" for a wide range of services out in the nation and separate from HQs.

Even though it meant my hugely enjoyable (and valuable!) job was scrapped as a result, I welcomed the creation of the GOs.

They have been changed almost beyond recognition in the Labour years, and nowadays are of far less value to the country. That doesn't mean they should necessarily be scrapped, but could probably be made useful again.

I have fond memories of what was, at the time (1996), a good and worthwhile office, and took a nostalgic look at Riverwalk House on my way to that Sam Coates bloggers' event at the nearby City Inn a few weeks ago...

Roger Thornhill said...

Iain, here is one for Cameron's campaign

UNTIE THE UNION!





p.s. I thought GOL was there to "keep an eye", and also a RDA in waiting should London go UDI...

Jockdownsouth said...

I recently discovered the Government Office for the South East, so presumably there are about a dozen of them, all busily duplicating the efforts of other government organisations. Fancy a job at a minimum of £44k? Here you go -
http://www.gose.gov.uk/gose/news/877826/