The Audit Commission's proposed approach requires 'significant improvement' - more than simply making up the missing points - if councils are to move up a category.
Redcar & Cleveland BC chief executive Colin Moore said: 'It was a matter of chance where we fell last time round. Those of us who were only just outside a category have got to go for better than those who are already in the higher category.
'If you're just below it's impossible to achieve progress. Councils will just give up.'
Concerns intensified after a change
was made to the commission's published proposals.
Councils whose service scores improve, but have a poor corporate assessment will need a further corporate assessment before they can move up a category. The initial version of the consultation document CPA: the next steps said fair councils would need a 2003-04 service score at the upper end of three or a 2002 corporate assessment score at the upper end of two to be eligible for a corporate assessment.
However, the commission has now told chief executives their councils must achieve the stated scores in both services and their 2002 corporate assessment.
Mr Moore added: 'We're going to have to really fight this. They've made it even worse [and] it's a ludicrous position. It contradicts the basic rules of public services which means the commission could be up for a judicial review.
'The one point between 'good' and 'fair' costs us £100,0000 in audit and inspection fees. We think that would be better spent on improving services, rather than lining the pockets of the commission.'