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The Audit Commission threatened to take out an injunction against LGC to prevent publication of last week's edition...
The Audit Commission threatened to take out an injunction against LGC to prevent publication of last week's edition, which contained the leak of the draft table of comprehensive performance assessment results.

At around 11.40am on Thursday, Audit Commission controller Sir Andrew Foster called editor Richard Vize saying he believed LGC was about to leak a draft of the results, and demanded a commitment by midday that a leak would not be published. If that commitment was not forthcoming, he added, the commission would seek an injunction preventing publication. A letter faxed from commission solicitor Rod Ainsworth said the leak was 'highly likely to be inaccurate and misleading', and claimed publication may amount to a crime under s49 of the Audit Commission Act 1998.

Around midday LGC's solicitor informed the commission the magazine had already been posted. The commission retaliated by banning LGC from the press conference at which the final data was released.

Sir Andrew emailed chief executives attacking LGC's decision to leak the list, and inviting them to tell him if the story had caused difficulties.

Mr Vize said: 'We stand by the story in every respect. If the commission had

taken us to court to seek an injunction we would have fought hard. Publishing the draft list has shed badly needed illumination on the obscure workings of the CPA process. We published the Audit Commission's own table. If it is really so inaccurate and misleading why did they circulate it in the first place?'

The heavy handedness of the commission came as a surprise to some councils. One source said: 'I'm perplexed with the way the Audit Commission dealt with [the leak] and all their talk about it causing anxiety in local government, when I think about what it has been up to in the last six months and how much anxiety that's caused. That's the real issue.'

Seven councils complained to LGC about the story. One chief executive, whose council rose from a fair in the draft list to good, wrote: 'Apparently ignoring Audit Commission advice and publicising clearly inaccurate material has caused this authority considerable embarrassment.'

Other reports from councils revealed staff were clamouring to read LGC after news of the leak spread.

The commission declined to comment further.

Comprehensive Performance Assessment Scores

Authority Overall CPA


Bexley LBCExcellent

Blackburn with Darwen BCExcellent

Camden LBCExcellent

Cheshire CCExcellent

City of London Excellent

Cornwall CCExcellent

Derbyshire CCExcellent

Dorset CCExcellent

Gateshead CouncilExcellent

Hammersmith & Fulham LBCExcellent

Hampshire CCExcellent

Hartlepool BCExcellent

Hertfordshire CCExcellent

Kensington & Chelsea LBCExcellent

Kent CCExcellent

Kingston upon Thames LBCExcellent

Kirklees MCExcellent

Sunderland City CouncilExcellent

Wandsworth LBCExcellent

West Sussex CCExcellent

Westminster City CouncilExcellent

Wigan MBCExcellent

Authority Overall CPA


Barnsley MBCGood

Bath & NE Somerset CouncilGood

Bolton MBCGood

Bradford City MDCGood

Brighton & Hove City CouncilGood

Buckinghamshire CCGood

Cambridgeshire CCGood

Croydon LBCGood

Darlington BCGood

Derby CCGood

Devon CCGood

Durham CCGood

E. Riding of Yorkshire Council Good

Essex CCGood

Gloucestershire CCGood

Halton BCGood

Herefordshire CouncilGood

Isles of Scilly CouncilGood

Knowsley MBCGood

Lancashire CCGood

Leeds City CouncilGood

Leicestershire CCGood

Lewisham LBCGood

Luton BCGood

Manchester City CouncilGood

Medway CouncilGood

Middlesbrough CouncilGood

Newcastle City CouncilGood

Norfolk CCGood

North Lincolnshire CouncilGood

Northumberland CCGood

Nottinghamshire CCGood

Borough of Poole Good

Portsmouth City CouncilGood

Reading BCGood

Richmond upon Thames LBCGood

Sheffield City CouncilGood

Shropshire CCGood

South Gloucestershire CouncilGood

Southampton City CouncilGood

St Helens MBCGood

Stockport MBCGood

Stockton on Tees BCGood

Suffolk CC Good

Surrey CCGood

Sutton LBCGood

Tameside MBCGood

Telford & Wrekin Council Good

Tower Hamlets LBCGood

Warrington BCGood

Warwickshire CCGood

Wokingham DCGood

Worcestershire CCGood

City of York Council Good

Authority Overall CPA


Barking & Dagenham LBCFair

Barnet LBCFair

Blackpool BCFair

Bournemouth BCFair

Bracknell Forest BCFair

Brent LBCFair

Calderdale MBCFair

Cumbria CCFair

Doncaster MBCFair

Dudley MBCFair

Greenwich LBCFair

Hillingdon LBCFair

Hounslow LBCFair

Isle of Wight CouncilFair

Leicester City CouncilFair

Lincolnshire CCFair

Liverpool City CouncilFair

Newham LBCFair

North Somerset Council Fair

North Yorkshire CCFair

Oxfordshire CCFair

Peterborough City CouncilFair

Redbridge LBCFair

Redcar & Cleveland BCFair

Rochdale MBCFair

Rotherham DCFair

Rutland CCFair

Sefton MBCFair

Slough BCFair

Solihull MBCFair

Somerset CCFair

South Tyneside MBCFair

Southend-on-Sea BCFair

Staffordshire CCFair

Stoke on Trent City CouncilFair

Thurrock BCFair

West Berkshire CouncilFair

Wiltshire CCFair

Wirral MBCFair

Authority Overall CPA


Birmingham City CouncilWeak

Bristol City CouncilWeak

Bromley LBCWeak

Bury MBCWeak

Ealing LBCWeak

East Sussex CCWeak

Enfield LBCWeak

Haringey LBCWeak

Harrow LBCWeak

Havering LBCWeak

Merton LBCWeak

Milton Keynes CouncilWeak

Northamptonshire CCWeak

Nottingham City CouncilWeak

Oldham MBCWeak

Plymouth City CouncilWeak

Salford City CouncilWeak

Sandwell MBCWeak

Southwark LBCWeak

Trafford MBCWeak

Windsor & Maidenhead RBCWeak

Wolverhampton City CouncilWeak

Bedfordshire CCPoor

Coventry City CouncilPoor

Hackney LBCPoor

Islington LBCPoor

Kingston-u-Hull City CouncilPoor

Lambeth LBCPoor

NE Lincolnshire CouncilPoor

North Tyneside MBCPoor

Swindon BCPoor

Torbay CouncilPoor

Wakefield MDCPoor

Walsall MBCPoor

Waltham Forest LBCPoor

Ammendments to the final CPA scores

The differences in councils' positions between the draft comprehensive performance assessment table we published last week and the final version.

Councils which have moved up:

Good to excellent Bexley LBC; Derbyshire CC; Dorset CC; Kingston upon Thames LBC; Kirkless MC; Wandsworth LBC; West Sussex CC Fair to good Bath & NE Somerset Council; Brighton & Hove City Council; Croydon LBC; Darlington BC; Derby City Council; Devon CC; Durham CC; Herefordshire Council; Halton BC; Lancashire CC; Leicestershire CC; Lewisham LBC; Nottinghamshire CC; Borough of Poole; Portsmouth City Council; Richmond upon Thames LBC; Sheffield City Council; South Gloucestershire Council; Stockport MBC; Tower Hamlets LBC Weak to good Bradford City MDC; Gloucestershire CC; Leeds City Council; Manchester City Council; Southampton City Council; Wokingham DC Weak to fair Barking & Dagenham LBC; Barnet LBC; Doncaster MBC; Greenwich LBC; Hillingdon LBC; North Somerset Council; Oxfordshire CC; Peterborough City Council; Redbridge LBC; Redcar & Cleveland BC; Rutland CC; Sefton MBC; Somerset CC; Southend on Sea BC; Staffordshire CC; Stoke on Trent City Council; Thurrock BC; West Berkshire Council; Wirral MBC Poor to fair Cumbria CC Poor to weak Bristol City Council; Haringey LBC; Northamptonshire CC; Oldham MBC Councils which have moved down: Excellent to good Suffolk CC; Middlesborough Council Good to fair Bracknell Forest BC Fair to weak Ealing LBC; East Sussex CC; Plymouth City Council; Salford City Council; Windsor & Maidenhead RBC; Wolverhampton City Council Weak to poor North East Lincolnshire Council; Torbay Council

(NOTE Isles of Scilly and Shropshire CC were not in last week's table but were ranked good in the official figures); The Audit Commission refused to give LGC an explanation for the changes.

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