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COUNCILLORS VOICE 'SERIOUS RESERVATIONS' ABOUT NEW SYSTEM OF ASSESSING PERFORMANCE

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At the LGA general assembly in Bournemouth yesterday councillors from England and Wales voiced serious reservations...
At the LGA general assembly in Bournemouth yesterday councillors from England and Wales voiced serious reservations about the government's new system of assessing the performance of local councils.

In a motion passed, LGA members warned the government that the new system of comprehensive performance assessment will not work unless it is open and transparent, and commands the full respect of local government.

To ensure that local councils can respect the process, the LGA general assembly agreed four key tests that the government must fulfil:

* the new assessment system must deliver freedoms and flexibilities to all local councils

* the forthcoming spending review must set out additional resources to help councils improve

* CPA must focus on producing improvement plans rather than council league tables

* the CPA process must result in a better targeted, more proportional, 'lighter touch' inspection regime for councils

LGA chair Jeremy Beecham said: 'The new comprehensive performance assessment system will not work unless it commands the full respect of local councils up and down the country.

'We will look to government and the Audit Commission to continue to work with local government to ensure that these criteria are fulfilled. LGA members want to get the process right rather than simply sticking to a rigid, and potentially unrealistic, timetable.'

Additional Info

The government set out its proposals for Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) in the Local Government White Paper, which was published in December 2001. The performance assessments will be carried out by the Audit Commission, who will bring together data from performance indicators, inspection and corporate governance assessments. The Audit Commission aims to draw up a score card and assign a performance category to councils. This categorisation will influence the support councils get to improve and the freedoms and flexibilities they have access to.

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