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FEATURES - KEEPING TRACK OF THE TABLES

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Andrew Muter updates Nottinghamshire's own brand of league table ...
Andrew Muter updates Nottinghamshire's own brand of league table

Nottinghamshire CC's latest performance table shows some dramatic changes. The original table (LGC, 26 April) was based on 648 published best value and social services joint review inspections. Since then a further 62 inspection results have been published and included in the analysis.

Leicester City Council, Richmond upon Thames LBC and Essex CC make the biggest gains with rises of 47, 38 and 35 places respectively. Leicester rose to 85th position on the back of the two-star rating accorded its service for homeless people which was judged to have excellent prospects for improvement. Richmond's rise recognises its excellent financial services. And Essex achieved a 'good' rating for its libraries.

The biggest fall recorded was Plymouth City Council (54 places) following a poor judgment on its sports and recreation service. Somerset CC plummeted 51 places to 145th in the table because of its poor corporate procurement and purchasing service.

There has been limited movement in the top 20 where Westminster City Council has risen to 11th. Hertfordshire CC and Sutton LBC fell by three and five places respectively. Hartlepool BC remains at the top.

The table shows each council's category in line with the grading system proposed by the Audit Commission under comprehensive performance assessment - top-performing, striving, coasting, or under-performing.

Nearly 40% of the inspection judgments are in the good or excellent category - a pattern consistent with the Audit Commission's Changing Gear report. But the analysis of results by council paints a very different picture. Changing Gear suggests only 28% of councils are striving and 52% are coasting. This analysis reverses the proportions with 55% of councils identified as striving and 27% as coasting.

Changing Gear includes district council inspection outcomes which are excluded from the Nottinghamshire table. If this turns out to be the main reason for the difference it will reinforce the Audit Commission's view that districts face particular challenges in terms of their capacity to improve. But for London boroughs, metropolitan, unitary and county councils - who provide the vast bulk of council services to citizens - the news is good. If 60% of councils are top-performers or strivers then local government is demonstrating it can improve.

Andrew Muter

Assistant chief executive, Nottinghamshire CC

Council Index

Position Council Index Places

1 Hartlepool 11.75

2 Wigan 11.00

Wiltshire 11.00

4 Derby 10.80 1

5 Hertfordshire 10.75 3

Kensington & Chelsea 10.75 1

7 Brent 10.50

8 Kingston-upon-Thames 10.40

9 Norfolk 10.33

10 Gateshead 10.25

11 Blackburn with Darwen10.00

Leicestershire 10.00

Wandsworth 10.00

West Sussex 10.00

Westminster 10.00 6

16 Sutton 9.88 5

17 Camden 9.67

18 Tameside 9.57 1

19 Bath & N E Somerset 9.50

Hampshire 9.50

21 Halton 9.38 3

22 Bolton 9.22 3

23 Sunderland 9.20 3

24 Shropshire 8.88 3

25 Hammersmith & Fulham 8.80 6

26 Telford & Wrekin 8.75 2

27 North Somerset 8.6 2

28 Cornwall 8.60 22

29 Blackpool 8.58 14

30 Knowsley 8.50

Worcestershire 8.50

32 Manchester 8.33 1

Northumberland 8.33 1

Suffolk 8.33 1

35 Herefordshire 8.00 16

Solihull 8.00 3

37 Oldham 7.91 2

38 Nottinghamshire 7.83 3

39 North Lincolnshire 7.80 3

40 Bedfordshire 7.75 3

Enfield 7.75 3

Harrow 7.75 2

Leeds 7.75 3

Milton Keynes 7.75 15

45East Riding of Yorkshire7.67 2

46Kirklees 7.60 2

South Gloucestershire 7.60 2

48Wirral 7.56 8

49Bradford 7.50 7

Hillingdon 7.50 1

Lancashire 7.50 28

Redcar & Cleveland 7.50 1

Thurrock 7.50 38

Warrington 7.50 16

Windsor & Maidenhead 7.50 1

56Bexley 7.33 1

Cambridgeshire 7.33 1

Cheshire 7.33 1

Durham 7.33 17

Kent 7.33 1

Lincolnshire 7.33 1

Newcastle upon Tyne 7.33 1

Richmond-upon-Thames 7.33 38

Warwickshire 7.33 1

65Dudley 7.17 22

66Cumbria 7.11 2

Islington 7.11 1

68Darlington 7.00 2

Derbyshire 7.00 2

Lewisham 7.00 2

Peterborough 7.00 18

Stockton-on-Tees 7.00 35

73Barnet 6.86 11

Barnsley 6.86 1

Stoke-on-Trent 6.86 18

76Southampton 6.75 2

St Helens 6.75 2

78Birmingham 6.67 1

Bracknell Forest 6.67 1

Croydon 6.67 1

Hounslow 6.67 1

West Berkshire 6.67 1

83Rochdale 6.60 1

84Bromley 6.57 2

85Leicester 6.50 47

Stockport 6.50 9

87Essex 6.40 35

88Buckinghamshire 6.33 22

Trafford 6.33 22

90Sefton 6.30 2

91South Tyneside 6.25 2

92Newham 6.22 2

93North Yorkshire 6.20 2

94North Tyneside 6.14 1

95Brighton & Hove 6.00 1

Devon 6.00 1

East Sussex 6.00 1

Liverpool 6.00 1

Medway 6.00 1

Middlesbrough 6.00 1

Poole 6.00 1

Reading 6.00 1

Southend-on-sea 6.00 1

Southwark 6.00 1

Surrey 6.00 1

Torbay 6.00 1

Wokingham 6.00 1

Wolverhampton 6.00 1

York 6.00 1

110Ealing 5.89 16

111Kingston-upon-Hull 5.83 4

112Staffordshire 5.80 18

Waltham Forest 5.80 38

114Greenwich 5.75 48

Merton 5.75 2

Rotherham 5.75 2

Sheffield 5.75 2

118Luton 5.67 1

Slough 5.67 2

120Gloucestershire 5.57 1

121Bristol 5.50 1

Havering 5.50 27

Oxfordshire 5.50 1

Salford 5.50 1

Swindon 5.50 1

126Rutland 5.43 4

127Barking & Dagenham 5.40 2

Nottingham 5.40 5

Portsmouth 5.40 2

130Bournemouth 5.33 1

131Plymouth 5.25 54

132Doncaster 5.17 1

Redbridge 5.17 1

134Haringey 5.14 1

135Calderdale 5.00

Dorset 5.00

Northamptonshire 5.00

Tower Hamlets 5.00

139Lambeth 4.83 1

140Bury 4.50 1

141North East Lincolnshire4.33 1

142Sandwell 4.25 1

143Coventry 4.00 1

144Wakefield 3.60 1

145Somerset 3.50 51

146Walsall 2.00

147Hackney 1.00

148Isle of Wight 0.00

Top Ten Sliders

Council Places

Plymouth City Council54

Somerset CC 51

Greenwich LBC 48

Waltham Forest LBC 38

Thurrock BC 38

Stockton-on-Tees BC 35

Havering LBC 27

Trafford MBC 22

Buckinghamshire CC 22

Peterborough City Council18

Top Ten Rising Stars

Council Places

Leicester City Council 47

Richmond-upon-Thames LBC 38

Essex CC 35

Lancashire CC 28

Cornwall CC 22

Dudley MBC 22

Stoke-on-Trent City Council18

Durham CC 17

Milton Keynes Council 15

Blackpool BC 14

Comment

One of the principal arguments against league tables in public services over the last decade has been that they introduce the crudity of the sports field into complicated policy issues.

As in sporting contests, Nottinghamshire CC's league table of top-tier councils, an updated version of which is published above, has provoked argument about the referee's decisions.

It is for those authorities on the cusp of a striving classification and the far more perjorative coasting grading that the table appears to have caused most angst.

Durham CC, Redcar & Cleveland BC, Salford City Council, South Tyneside MBC and Warrington BC are among this group.

Redcar & Cleveland has three best value results which are promising and two which are uncertain. Under the new social services star rating system the council would gain only one star with uncertain prospects.

Nottinghamshire assistant chief executive Andrew Muter points out that on the positive side such councils need only one more good inspection report to enter the striving category.

'It is tough and no doubt they recognise that they are only one result away from the striving class. But if we are going to operate a rule we have to do so across the board.'

Audit Commission inspection service director Paul Kirby says: 'It is positive to see councils focusing on their performance. We encourage people to make use of all the available data. But the CPA process is a great deal more comprehensive, drawing on a wide range of information including, crucially, a corporate overview. The CPA results the commission reports this winter are likely to look very different from early league tables. Next week we will begin consulting on how different elements are weighted in the final CPA judgments - it is good that councils are already thinking about this.'

Each has an equal number of both 'promising prospects for improvement' and 'uncertain prospects for improvement'. For some of those councils there is the added frustration that Ofsted inspection results are not currently included in the calculations.

This is because the education inspectorate has until now refused to publish the point grading it gives each council education department.

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