Instead, local government minister John Healey has announced each of the nine new unitary authorities due to come into existence from 1 April 2009 will have a “state of play” financial report drafted by the Audit Commission in time for their launch.
Mr Healey has been holding monthly meetings with the chief executives of the new unitaries and more recently the Audit Commission. He announced the changes to allay fears the commission would move ahead with the last year of the comprehensive performance assessment without considering the “particular circumstances of restructuring”.
“The reports for the successor authorities will feed into their new arrangements for service delivery,” Mr Healey said. “We will also be talking to the commission and affected councils over the coming weeks to work out the implications and practicalities of closing the accounts of those councils that are to be abolished.”
The Audit Commission this week revealed the framework for the last ever round of comprehensive performance assessment.
Among a number of minor changes are the removal of temporary protection given in the last two years to councils whose corporate assessment score had gone down and a return to earlier measures of homelessness.