All London boroughs, along with the Greater London Authority and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority are signing up to Capital Ambition, which will offer a mutual support system to tackle performance in all service areas across the capital.
Capital Ambition is based on the recognition that any under-performing service anywhere in the capital adversely affects the reputation of London local government as a whole. The strategy marks a collective effort by local government to address a range of improvement issues and set its own targets.
All London leaders are signing up to Capital Ambition and committing themselves to work together on service improvement. It will focus on a number of areas including; quality of service, efficiency, sub-regional working and regular monitoring of performance progress.
London boroughs will support each other to drive up standards through voluntary peer intervention. This means that councils that require practical support will be able to receive this from a neighbouring local authority, or one of similar political affiliation, which has experienced similar pressures and problems.
A new Performance Office will be established as part of Capital Ambition to collate information on London councils and independently assess how they are improving. It will set specific performance targets and new outcome measures reflecting the views and priorities of Londoners.
Capital Ambition aims to ensure that every London authority has at least a two star rating by December 2008, and that at least 90 per cent of authorities show continuing improvement for CPA ratings each year.
Derek Myers, Chair of the Capital Ambition Partnership Board and chief executive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said:
'London boroughs are already committed to improving their own performance but Capital Ambition will encourage them to look beyond their immediate boundaries to help boost service delivery across the whole of London.
'The spotlight will be on London's local public services even more as we head towards the 2012 Olympics.
'Like the future Olympians competing in the capital, London boroughs will be making a strong team effort to ensure that our public services contribute to London's reputation as a world class city.'
Capital Ambition will be hosted by the Association of London Government and is being backed by a range of organisations, including the Government Office for London, the Improvement and Development Agency, and the London Centre of Excellence.
Capital Ambition is the London Improvement Partnership's strategy. It will be led by the Capital Ambition Partnership Board which has been allocated£6.6m by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister until 2008/09.
Last December's comprehensive performance ratings showed that 28 of London's 33 local authorities are either improving well or improving strongly. London has only three one star councils, while 23 local authorities in the capital have three or four star ratings.
Councils in the capital face a number of improvement issues including; staff recruitment and retention, diversity, social inclusion, as well as new challenges such as implementing changes arising from the Children's Act. There is an identified need for support for elected members in carrying out their scrutiny, community and partnership roles.