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IRRV CONFERENCE: HARROW LBC'S BEST VALUE REVENUES AND BENEFITS PILOT EXAMINED

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Have local authorities got the courage to implement the results that emerge from best value?, asked Tony Redmond, c...
Have local authorities got the courage to implement the results that emerge from best value?, asked Tony Redmond, chief executive and director of finance of Harrow LBC at the IRRV conference in Blackpool today.

Harrow is a best value pilot authority, with revenues and benefits one of the pilot services. Mr Redmond acknowkedged that Harrow's progress in best value had been boosted because elements such as service development plans, benchmarking and workflow had been trialled by the revenues and benefits department.

The revenues and benefits experience 'showed us we have to be innovative, we have to find new ways of doing things', he said.

But the whole borough is involved in best value and Mr Redmond stressed that departmental barriers have to come down. 'I cannot see a future for strict departmental separation under best value', he said. The local authority also cannot achieve best value on its own: it must work with partners.

Once a council has entered into the best value process it must take the results seriously, he said. What will it do with the information produced by benchmarking and consultation? Will services be outsourced? These are the difficult decisions, he said, but the one option that is not acceptable is 'no change'.

Mr Redmond made it clear he viewed best value not as a passing fad but as a real opportunity for local government.

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