Published jointly by the Audit Commission and the Improvement & Development Agency, the guides draw on the joint knowledge and experience of the two organisations and the good practice developed by members and officers in local authorities.
The guide for members outlines the vital role of performance management in raising service standards and how performance information can be used to scrutinise and challenge services. It provides checklists to help members judge their authority's progress towards effective performance management and signposts readers to further sources of information.
The guide for senior managers describes what an effective performance management system looks like, the culture needed to make it work and the obstacles to be overcome. Like the members' guide, it also provides checklists to assess progress and further sources of information.
The Audit Commission's managing director for local government, Frances Done, said: 'Comprehensive performance assessment and the peer reviews carried out by the IDeA clearly show that authorities which manage performance well are delivering better services. But they also show that many authorities are still struggling to develop effective performance management arrangements. These guides will help members and managers bridge that gap.'
Pat Woodhouse, IDeA director of strategy, information and development, said: 'Performance management is the key to delivering real and sustained improvement in frontline services. It is fundamental to the delivery of national and local priorities and is the only way that councils can respond to the challenges of community leadership and perfor mance assessment.'
Complimentary copies of both guides have been sent to each local authority and every elected member will receive a copy through the June edition of the IDeA Modern Members programme. Further copies can be purchased for£10.25 per set of ten through calling 0208 867 3298 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Audit Commission is an independent watchdog responsible for ensuring that public money is spent economically, efficiently and effectively. Our remit covers more than 15,000 bodies which between them spend nearly£125 billion of public money each year.
In addition to making sure that taxpayers receive value for money, our aim is to provide impartial information on the quality of public services. We also act as a force for improvement by providing practical recommendations and spreading best practice.
The IDeA works to help all councils improve. By advocating the best in local government, the IDeA aims to:
-deliver practical solutions to improve local government performance
-develop innovative approaches to transfer knowledge within local government
-act on behalf of local government to develop new ways to deliver joined-up local services
-promote local government success
-influence public service policy so that it supports local government improvement
-employ highly-skilled people to meet the needs and priorities of local government as and when they are required
-work with our customers in a way which respects diversity and promotes equalities
-be recognised as the improvement partner of choice for all local authorities.