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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - SNAKES AND LADDERS

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The difficulties experienced by Walsall MBC and Coventry City Council well illustrate the game of snakes and ladder...
The difficulties experienced by Walsall MBC and Coventry City Council well illustrate the game of snakes and ladders that is the comprehensive performance assessment in local government today (LGC, 23 April).

The Audit Commission made this particular trouble for itself when it ignored the widespread view in local government that it was not sensible to have different threshold scores for councils moving up the CPA categories from those, unfortunately, moving down.

Barnsley Council landed on its own snake last year when late changes to the Ofsted scoring methodology caused us, unannounced, to lose an education star and, because of the quadruple weighting given to education, to topple from a service score of 41 to 37 and relegation from the 'good' to the 'fair' category.

Consequently, the council is branded as moving backwards when everyone knows that we are driving forward on a wide spread of corporate and service issues.

Let us hope the commission makes the right decisions following the consultation on the way forward for the CPA from 2006 onwards.

Philip Coppard

Chief executive, Barnsley Council

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