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BEST VALUE GETS ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE

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Over 150 local authorities have submitted proposals to pilot Best Value schemes, local government minister Hilary A...
Over 150 local authorities have submitted proposals to pilot Best Value schemes, local government minister Hilary Armstrong announced today. The pilots will take forward the government's new policy aimed at ensuring local authorities deliver quality services at a price that people are willing to pay.

Ms Armstrong also announced the membership of an expert panel which will evaluate the proposals, and a new research programme to monitor the pilot programme and disseminate information to all local authorities.

Ms Armstrong said:

'Local authorities have responded enthusiastically to our invitation to pilot Best Value. This enthusiasm demonstrates that local government wants to play a full part in the development of policy. It is a recognition that ideas work best when they are developed in partnership between central and local government. I am now looking forward to the further development of the duty of Best Value with other stakeholders, the private sector, trades unions and above all the public themselves.

'Best Value is not just about pilots. I want all local authorities to take forward Best Value now, in advance of legislation. The research which we are commissioning will help them to do so, facilitating the exchange of ideas and best practice amongst pilot and non-pilot authorities.'

The evaluation panel, which will be chaired by Richard Footitt DETR, will include: Matthew Warburton of the Local Government Association; Stelio Stefanou, Chairman of the CBI Local Government Procurement Panel; David Denison, Business Strategy Manager of Local Government, ICL; Keith Sonnet, Head of Local Government, at UNISON; Mick Graham, National Secretary Public Services, at GMB; Chris Dunabin at the Government Office Eastern Region; Bob Chilton,

Director of Local Government Studies at the Audit Commission; and Tim Judson, DETR.

30 pilot projects are to be set up which will test the provisional framework of Best Value sent to local authorities in July. The final list will be announced in December. In addition to the fully-fledged pilots, the government will consider selective exemptions from CCT for individual authorities, should they wish to propose to pilot particular services.

The Best Value research programme will be undertaken by the Local Government Centre, at Warwick University's Business School, headed by Steve Martin.

NOTES

1. The government wrote to all local authority leaders and chief executives on 25 July, inviting them to bring forward proposals to pilot Best Value by 1 October.

2.The government announced on 2 June that it intended to replace compulsory competitive tendering with a duty of obtaining Best Value for the taxpayer as soon as parliamentary time allows, and would be encouraging local authorities to develop the principles of Best Value in advance of any necessary changes to the law governing CCT. The Best Value initiative would address achieving economy, efficiency, effectiveness and quality in local services, and would provide a demanding challenge to local authorities, seeking continuous improvements in service costs and quality.

3. Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT) applies to a wide range of local authority services. A local authority can only carry out

certain defined activities in-house, through its own Direct Labour Organisation (DLO) or Direct Service Organisation (DSO) if the work

has first gone out to tender and been won in open competition. The Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 and the Local Government Act 1988 are the primary legislation setting conditions for fair competition by local authorities. Regulations have brought various elements of local authority activity under the scope of these Acts.

4. The pilot projects are intended to deliver measurable improvements in the value for money of provision across a group of services. Therefore the criteria set out that proposals should demonstrate:

-- good consultation with service users and other members of the local community

-- use of measurable local performance indicators and targets to manage performance

-- a willingness to share information with other authorities

-- rigorous and transparent examination of the options for delivery

5. Pilot projects are expected to run for 2 or 3 years, but those that are successful will doubtlessly continue under the new best value regime when the legislation is on the statute book. The pilot projects will start no later than 1 April 1998, but an earlier start will be encouraged once the successful bids are announced in December.

6. A list of the authorities who have submitted proposals is attached.

Aylesbury Vale DC

Barnsley Metropolitan BC

Bedford BC

Birmingham CC

Bournemouth BC

Bracknell Forest BC

Bradford CC

Braintree DC

Brighton & Hove BC,& Tandridge DC,&Wealden DC

Bristol City Council

Bromsgrove DC

Buckinghamshire CC

Calderdale DC

Cambridge City Council

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Canterbury City Council

Caradon DC

Carrick DC

Cherwell DC

Chester City Council

Chesterfield BC

Chichester DC

Chiltern DC

Cleveland Police Authority

Colchester BC

Corby DC

Coventry City Council

Crawley BC

Crewe & Nantwich BC

Cumbria CC

Dacorum BC

Daventry DC

Derby City Council

District Surveyors Ass

Dorset CC

Dover DC

Durham CC

Easington DC

East Sussex CC

East Staffordshire DC

East Hertfordshire DC

Eastbourne BC

Eastleigh BC

Epsom & Ewell BC

Exeter City Council

Forest of Dean DC

Gedling BC

Gosport BC

Great Yarmouth BC

Greater Manchester MDC

Hampshire Constabulary

Hertfordshire CC

Hyde Housing Assoc

Ipswich BC

Kennet DC

King's Lynn & West Norfolk BC

Kirklees MBC

Lancashire CC

Lancaster City Council

Leeds City Council

Leicester City Council

Lincoln City Council

Lincolnshire CC

Liverpool City Council

London Borough of Islington

London Borough of Hounslow

London Borough of Hillingdon

London Borough of Harrow

London Borough of Hackney

London Borough of Croydon

London Borough of Lewisham

London Borough of Westminster

London Borough of Barnet

London Borough of Lambeth

London Borough of Brent

London Borough of Camden

London Borough of Greenwich

London Borough of Newham

London Borough of Waltham Forest

London Borough of Southwark

London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames

Middlesborough BC

Mole Valley DC

Newark &Sherwood DC

Newcastle upon Tyne City Council

North Lincolnshire UC

North Kesteven DC

North Tyneside MDC

North Wiltshire DC

Northamptonshire CC

Northumberland CC

Norwich City Council

Oadby & Wigston BC

Oldham MBC

Penwith DC

Portsmouth City Council

Preston BC

Purbeck DC

Reading BC

Redcar & Cleveland BC

Richmondshire DC

Rushmoor BC

Salford City Council

Sandwell MBC

Sheffield City Council

Solihull MBC

South Norfolk DC

South Somerset DC

South Holland DC

South Ribble BC

Southampton City Council

St Edmundsbury BC

Staffordshire Moorlands DC

Staffordshire CC

Stockport MBC

Stockton-on-Tees BC

Stoke on Trent DC

Suffolk CC

Suffolk CC & St Edmunsbury BC

Sunderland MDC

Surrey Heath BC

Surrey CC

Surrey Police

Swindon DC and Poole BC

Tameside MBC

Tamworth BC

Test Valley BC

Three Rivers DC

Thurrock BC

Trafford MDC

Uttlesford DC

Walsall MBC

Warrington BC

Warwick DC

Warwickshire CC

Watford BC

Waveney DC

Waverley BC

West Sussex CC

West Wiltshire DC

West Midlands Police

Wigan MBC

Wiltshire CC

Wirral MDC

Wolverhampton MBC

Worcestershire CC

Wrekin DC

Wychavon DC

Wycombe DC

York City Council

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