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Unison today branded the comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) process for local authorities as a misuse of ti...
Unison today branded the comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) process for local authorities as a misuse of time and money which would not lead to improvements in the quality of council services.

Unison said the CPA process had cost councils£1bn. That money would have been better invested in training of front line staff and managers, buildings and equipment, and decent pay to recruit and retain staff.

Instead, unaccountable inspectors labelled hard-pressed councils as failures and added to their problems in recruiting staff and building good relationships with the public they serve.

Unison national secretary for local government, Heather Wakefield, said:

'The government needs to ask itself whether beating cash-strapped councils about the head with inspection is really an effective mechanism for improvement.

'Councils have had to pay for the privilege of being inspected by a regime whose approach is questionable at best. Council taxpayers will rightly be asking themselves if this is the best use of their money.

'The CPA process is skewed towards priorities determined by unaccountable inspectors, with little knowledge of the localities they inspect.

'The process itself will not prevent one single child going into care, deal more quickly with housing benefit or provide better home care for vulnerable residents.

'Councils need to be free to decide their political priorities , within a sensible framework of national standards. While welcome, the new freedoms being offered by Whitehall to so-called high performing councils should be extended to all councils.'

Unison said the CPA results had revealed that privatisation is not the answer to service improvement. Some of those at the bottom of the list have been subject to widespread privatisation.

Heather Wakefield added:

'The government's priorities in this regard are plain wrong. The government seriously needs to examine how to effectively improve the quality of services. Inspection and privatisation are not the answer.'

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