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FED UP WITH ALL THE MEDDLING

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Inspection Poll reveals chief executives' anger with regulation...
Inspection Poll reveals chief executives' anger with regulation

By Nick Golding

Chief executives' continuing dissatisfaction with inspection and regulation has been revealed in a poll by LGC and Liberata.

The survey, which gives a new insight into the often fraught relationship between councils and central government, found that although most chiefs believe government inspections improve services - 58% as opposed to 31% - they think they do so only marginally.

A clear majority - 50% against 38% - did not believe the comprehensive performance assessment fairly represented their council's performance. One respondent said: 'Our audit costs are equivalent to the amount we have to find to meet Gershon savings.'

However, other research by business process specialist Liberata has indicated 86% of chief executives view CPA as the main driver of their council's activities.

Four-fifths of chief executives thought the government was inflexible when setting targets and only a narrow majority - 50% in favour, 46% against - felt central intervention improved local government services.

Only 27% believed the Gershon efficiency review made it more likely their council would turn to the private sector to help provide services, while 69% said it would not.

Mark Holmes, managing director of Liberata, said: 'We're disappointed it's not a higher percentage. We absolutely believe Liberata and the private sector have a lot more to offer.

'The private sector has demonstrated it can achieve significant cost reductions, and we have achieved significantly more savings than Gershon through outsourcing partnerships. We would hope councils would be open-minded about entering into work with external partners as well as achieving service excellence, significant CPA results and best value performance indicators.'

There was also dissatisfaction with the Local Government Association's ability to represent councils, with 62% of respondents saying it had not improved central government policies towards councils.

Nearly two-thirds of chief executives believe government restrictions on the power of councils decreases the turnout in elections.

nick.golding@emap.com

LGC/Liberata survey 22

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