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What is Best Value? What are local authorities doing to bring continuous ...
What is Best Value? What are local authorities doing to bring continuous

improvement when delivering their services?

New research from the RICS Foundation establishes a measurable method for

auditing best value, the name given to a government policy initiative,

introduced in 1997, to improve the provision of local services. The focus of

best value is to deliver services to clear standards (covering both cost and

quality) by the most economic, efficient and effective means available.

The research challenges the why and how a service is provided, encourages

comparisons across a range of indicators, the consultation of local

taxpayers, users, and businesses and embraces fair competition. The

researchers, John Kelly and Kirsty Hunter of Glasgow Caledonian

University, have evolved a three-step approach to the measurement of best

value called the 'Three Wheels' and have tested the process in a local

authority in Scotland.

The research finds that the process entitled the 'Three Wheels of Best

Value' can aid continuous improvement and that it could be adopted as the

foundation for the benchmarking and measurement of best value. The 'Three

Wheels' framework supports the critical 'four Cs' of best value - challenge,

consult, compare and compete, enabling the rigorous appraisal of government


'It is imperative that local authorities measure best value and assess the

quality of schemes involved as a whole. The 'Three Wheels' process could

provide everyone involved with, and affected by, local authority service

provision with a means of assessing progress towards best value', commented

Stephen Brown, director of research for the RICS Foundation.

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