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The legitimacy of the comprehensive performance assessment regime has been questioned by chief executives in a two-...
The legitimacy of the comprehensive performance assessment regime has been questioned by chief executives in a two-pronged attack.

The two leading chief executive bodies - the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers and the Association of County Chief Executives - have both produced highly-critical responses to the draft CPA framework.

SOLACE, which produced the most damning report of the two, called for the first round of CPAs to be made a pilot as it believes they are fundamentally flawed.

SOLACE's response said its members had 'severe reservations' that the speed in which the CPAs have been introduced had undermined the credibility of the process.

The report added the framework was wrong not to take deprivation, demography, geography, economic potential and a host of services, including trading standards, community safety and environmental health, into account.

The proposed rating system whereby a council is excluded from the higher tiers because of the poor-performance of just one department also came under attack - mirroring the view of many other influential voices in local government.

SOLACE's response was quick to claim there was little evidence the CPAs will 'streamline the plethora of inspection regimes'.

Both bodies agreed the government had ignored cross-cutting issues as the CPA framework did not show enough appreciation that 'one cannot judge the effectiveness of partnership working of one organisation, without judging others'.

But ACCE saved its most damning criticism for the corporate assessment teams, some of which had 'strongly negative' attitudes and were inconsistent.

It took issue with the rating system, but in a different way to SOLACE. It said the single-word classification system should be replaced by one that gives some indication of the future prospects.

It concluded: 'In view of the difficulties still to be addressed we are sure that the Audit Commission and government will want to learn from the first year. It will be important not to place too much weight on the fine judgments made in the first year.'

The criticisms follow responses to the consultation from the Local Government Association and a Leeds City Council officer on behalf of eight councils, which claimed the CPAs had been hurried and were too negative (LGC, 9 August).

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