reviewed this year risk failing to capture the improvement that councils are
achieving, says the Local Government Association.*
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.