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The Audit Commission's proposals as to how councils' performance will be ...
The Audit Commission's proposals as to how councils' performance will be

reviewed this year risk failing to capture the improvement that councils are

achieving, says the Local Government Association.*

At the end of last year, under a system called Comprehensive Performance

Assessment, the Audit Commission graded each of the 150 largest councils in

England (single tier and county councils) in five categories ranging from

'poor' to 'excellent'. The LGA is concerned that the approach to reviewing

the CPA results this year limit the opportunity to recognise improvement in

all its forms.

LGA chair Jeremy Beecham said: `We have

consulted our member authorities closely and they have told us that the

Audit Commission's proposals are not adequate.

`The proposals to raise scoring thresholds from those used last year will

mask the true extent of improvement, leaving many councils running to stand

still. For even though they may have improved significantly since their last

inspection, the raising of the threshold could mean some local authorities

not being eligible for the better grade they deserve.

`This will not only discredit the system but also demotivate councils in

their drive to improve. Councils care about the quality of their services

and the public's perception of those services, but this new system will be

virtually impossible to explain and justify to local people.

`We have welcomed scrutiny and been publicly judged and graded on our

performance. It is equally important that improvement is properly judged

and made known to the public. Not to do so would be very unfair.

`The whole point of the CPA process is to help councils provide better

services to the public otherwise it is worthless. We appreciate the lengths

the Audit Commission is going to consult and involve local government in

deciding the next steps, and look forward to some key changes as a result of

this extensive consultation, h e said.'

* The LGA's response to the Audit Commission is available here.

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