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AMA PREPARES ITS DEFENCE IN ANTICIPATION OF PI CRITICISM

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The Association of Metropolitan Authorities is preparing its members for the publication of performance indicators ...
The Association of Metropolitan Authorities is preparing its members for the publication of performance indicators by supplying them with comparable information on government bodies, housing associations and the NHS.

The AMA hopes they will be able to use these PIs to deflect media criticism from their own performance. The statistics show, for instance, that local authorities have a lower percentage of empty housing stock than housing associations, the private sector or the government itself.

Other information supplied to councils includes statistics on the Inland Revenue, the Benefits Agency and the Child Support Agency and response times for ambulance services. These last figures could be used in comparison with police and fire PIs, the AMA has said.

A letter being sent to chief executives, press officers and officers responsible for PIs will say the Audit Commission is unlikely to be critical of local authorities, and the reaction of local government should be equally positive.

'This is not to say, of course, that the press and others will not misrepresent the Audit Commission data and to that end some defensive material will be needed,' a draft letter says.

The AMA has also advised members to point out the cost of the exercise to councils. It has estimated that taking into account the advertisement, audit time and staff time, the cost could come to £40,000 for an average metropolitan authority.

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