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New performance assessment figures announced today by the Audit Commission...
New performance assessment figures announced today by the Audit Commission

should be a cause of celebration for local government, says the LGA.

The first Comprehensive Performance Assessment resultsshow a significant

number of local authorities are going an excellent job for their local

communities and many others are doing well.

Jeremy Beecham, chairman of the LGA said:

'We know that many councils do their very best to deliver high quality

services to local communities - we should celebrate their success. Many

others are doing their best to improve and a small number do need to address

their problems.

'Councils will work together to help each other address their difficulties.

The LGA is confident that local government is best placed to support itself

to improve. What should matter to local people is that their council gets

the help and support it needs to address its problems. In some cases local

councillors have recognised the need to give more commitment to improving

services. In others better management has been put in place.

'To turn around a poorly performing authority at the same time as continuing

to deliver day to day services and respond to a barrage of new legislation

and government guidance is a remarkable achievement.

'We recognise that some local authorities still have concerns about the

process and we will continue to work with the Audit Commission to address

these issues. The LGA is particularly concerned to ensure the next phase of

assessment for district authorities is appropriate to the size and resources

of these councils.

'I would like to challenge the National Audit Office to look at the CPA

process and consider conducting a similar independent review of government

departments and agencies. The LGA would be happy to nominate councillors and

officers to join the inspection teams.'

The LGA has worked with the Audit Commission in an

effort to make sure the CPA process was as fair and sensible as possible.

'It has been a challenging time for local authorities, CPA has been a

burdensome period of form-filling and inspection. But the LGA has lobbied

hard for new freedoms for councils to flow from such an independent process

and we are pleased that the government has listened to our call for less

inspection, less plans' production and more freedom to develop services that

really address local people's needs,' Sir Jeremy added.

Next steps for the LGA in the improvement agenda for local councils include:

- encouraging all council leaders to sign up to a LGA proposal (due to be

debated at the LGA general assembly on 17 December) to work together to help

all local authorities improve

- facilitate a sharing of good practice and skills between councillors and

council officers throughout local government

- working with central bodies including the IdeA and the Employers'

Organisation to offer a new package of training and support services to help

local authorities

- lobbying central government to give more freedoms from red tape and

regulations so that local authorities can concentrate on improving their

public services for local people

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