I see Eric Pickles has once again decided to jump in to the middle of an issue, without explaining how the situation came about in the first place. Pickles was probably suffering withdrawal symptoms, having not seen his name in a newspaper headline for at least a week, so has decided to criticise local government for something imposed on it by central government.
This week’s issue has the catchy title equality and diversity. Pickles’s predecessors in government, decided that it needed to ensure that everybody and his dog was being given access to local government services, so came up with the E&Q Police. This meant that every time central government’s auditors appeared on the council’s doorstep to inspect one of its services, one of the tick boxes was about E&Q performance. If they didn’t think the council was performing to the required standard in this area, then it didn’t matter how good the service itself was, you still took a hit on equality and diversity.
The problem was, how does a council prove that it is meeting the government imposed E&Q targets, without asking the questions now being criticised by Eric Pickles? So instead of criticising councils for simply trying to meet targets imposed by his predecessors, why doesn’t he just announce that central government will no longer require this information and therefore councils can stop collecting it? Because that wouldn’t get him any newspaper headlines would it. It also seem that Pickles thinks that he isn’t doing his job properly unless he is beating up local government at every opportunity.