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HARDLINE CPA COULD FORCE SERVICE RETHINK

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Next round will be more stringent...
Next round will be more stringent

By Nick Edwards

Councils must not be afraid to change direction to galvanise their performance in the next round of comprehensive performance assessment, the Audit Commission has said.

Speaking at an LGC conference, 'CPA 2005: improvement planning', head of local government improvement Sally Hammond said the next round would be much more stringent.

As part of their preparation, councils should ensure their priorities run through every aspect of their activity. But councils should 'not be afraid to change tack' and must be 'systematic about learning,' she added.

'Some councils which scored three before will get two if all

they have done is continue meeting minimum requirements. There will be shifts up and down,' Ms Hammond warned.

The new methodology would 'have a much greater emphasis on outcomes, value for money and user input' and include a 'clearer statement of direction of travel'.

Ms Hammond said that although the consultation had shown many district councils were unhappy with having a different inspection regime from counties and single tier councils, this had not been changed.

However, she added: 'We will undertake further consultation to look at how corporate quality is assessed.'

nick.edwards@emap.com

CPA 2005 - key points

Focus on shared priorities Sustainable communities, safer and stronger communities, healthier communities, older people, and children & young people. Councils must 'tell a coherent story about how they manage the links between these areas'.

Focus on leadership, partnerships, community involvement.

Children's services The CPA score will be decided by annual performance assessment carried out by Ofsted and the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Children's services - full joint area review, conducted by all inspectorates if deemed necessary, takes place only once every three years.

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