London’s boroughs represent and serve the people of London across the capital’s diverse places and communities. They provide a wide range of services focused on the needs of individual residents, communities and business. Some of these are provided directly by the boroughs themselves and others through the local integration of services provided by government departments and agencies, and by private and voluntary sector organisations.
They also commission services – from child protection and adult care, through street cleansing and waste management, to planning, housing and parks. In all, boroughs spend around £20 billion a year.
Since the creation of London’s dynamic two-tier system of government in 2000, and the election of the first directly elected Mayor of London, the boroughs have sought to work in a partnership with the Mayor. The result is that the Mayor and the boroughs influence every aspect of government across London.
Public service reform and devolution
The UK continues to have one of the most centralised systems of government in the world. The massive reductions to core funding faced by the boroughs requires equally significant reform of public services in London enabled by devolution from Whitehall. Over the past four years the Mayor and the boroughs have worked together, and with partners across London and beyond, to promote the benefits of reform. We have argued that democratically accountable, locally delivered, integrated services offer the best solutions to meeting the challenges faced by a global city in the 21st century.
This has been recognised by government in the areas of employment support, skills, health and fiscal devolution. These have been significant steps.
It has become clear that joint action between the Mayor and the boroughs is a very powerful tool for delivering improved outcomes for Londoners over the next four years and beyond. Given the scale of the financial challenge facing public services such reform is vital to sustaining public services.
Our Mayoral briefing 2016 sets out the principles and ambitions of London local government to work with the new Mayor of London strengthen the engagement that is already happening between the Mayor's office and the boroughs in the interests of boroughs.