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BEST VALUE 'RISK CONTINUING WORST OF CCT REGIME'

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The government's proposals for best value ignore human resource issues and risk reproducing the worst aspects of CC...
The government's proposals for best value ignore human resource issues and risk reproducing the worst aspects of CCT, according to public finance and value management experts.

Jeremy Kite, manager for best value at the Institute of Public Finance, said the aim of best value should be continuous improvement, but guidance from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions emphasised competition and ignored team working.

Most of the feedback would come from pilot councils which were still working with a competition model, Mr Kite said. They risked perpetuating problems under CCT such as divisiveness, failure of services to develop with time and a lack of innovation.

He said he was baffled as to why the DoETR guidance overlooked best value models used in countries such as New Zealand which included voluntary benchmarking, performance management, democratic scrutiny and competitive tendering.

Institute of Value Managers chairman Mike Dallas said the DoETR guidance was consistent with value management practice, but fell short in vital areas.

'They propose a framework but the framework is silent on critical issues to do with a culture based on value and working together with people - whether they don't think it's important or assume everyone's going to work that way anyway I'm not sure,' he said.

The institute believed value management methods were an ideal basis for a best value regime and wanted to be consulted in drawing up the guidelines, said Mr Dallas.

A DoETR spokesman said councils would be expected to explore all options for flexibility and innovation under a best value regime. Training and other resource management issues were a necessary part of that and already required by competitive processes, he said.

'Ministers have made it clear that competition is an important tool in the delivery of best value but by no means the only one.'

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