innovative new scheme aimed at improving key local services. This
means that 20 councils will be pilots for the local Public Service
Agreement (PSA) scheme launched by the government and the Local
councils more flexibility and the prospect of cash rewards for
performance against local PSA agreements which will identify the key
local services that councils intend to improve.
Hilary Armstrong said:
'I am very pleased with the level of interest that has been expressed
in this new initiative, which is all about encouraging and rewarding
improvements in key services. The pilot exercise will be valuable in
working up a scheme which can be progressively rolled out to all
authorities who wish to participate.'
Jeremy Beecham, chair of the Local Government Association, said:
'The LGA is delighted to see that 20 councils are being invited
to pilot local PSAs. The scheme offers the prospect both of securing
valuable improvements in vital services for local people and of
transforming relations between local and central government.'
The 20 authorities participating in the pilot exercise are:
Birmingham City Council
Blackburn with Darwen BC
Coventry City Council
Milton Keynes Council
Newcastle City Council
Sheffield City Council
Sunderland City Council
Seven of these (Camden, Kent, Milton Keynes, Norfolk,
Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland and Warwickshire) were identified in
July as likely participants in the pilot scheme. The aim is for local
PSAs to be agreed with the pilot authorities by the end of the year.
The pilot exercise will then be evaluated, ahead of the planned wider
roll out of the scheme.
The government announced in the Spending Review 2000 that it intends
to offer local authorities the opportunity to enter into new local
Public Service Agreements (PSAs). The concept has been developed in close partnership with the Local Government Association and is based in part on their Local Challenge proposals.
Local PSAs are a means by which local authorities can build upon best
value and commit themselves to delivering even better outcomes for
local people than they would otherwise expect to achieve. Each local
PSA will focus on about twelve key outcomes which reflect a mix of
national and local priorities, including where appropriate targets to
improve outcomes for areas or groups most at risk of social
exclusion. In return, central government departments will offer a
package of agreed freedoms and flexibilities, and other incentives
including rewards for success, which will help authorities to deliver
these enhanced outcomes.
Pilot authorities concluding PSAs will be eligible for grants of
£50,000 in respect of administration costs. They will also be able
to apply for pump priming grants of up to£1m to assist in
delivering enhanced performance. Performance against the PSA targets
will be monitored, and rewards of up to 2.5 per cent of authorities'
net budget requirement for 2000-01 will be available.
In total,£400m over three years has been made available for
the whole scheme including the pilot. Seven authorities (Camden,
Kent, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland and
Warwickshire) were closely involved in the scoping exercise during
the 2000 spending review.
These authorities have been asked to submit fully worked up proposals
by the end of September. The remaining 13 authorities have been asked
to submit full proposals by the end of October. Detailed discussion
of the content of their local PSAs will follow.