government if they hit new targets on key local priorities under the
second generation of the local public service agreements (local PSA)
Under the new guidance, councils will have more leeway to set targets
that will make a real difference to their local areas such as
reducing crime levels, improving education standards and providing
cleaner streets for local people.
The new guidance continues to encourage voluntary agreements between
councils, local organisations and government departments to strive
for improvement in local services.
Announcing the new guidance at a conference held at the Local
Government Association today, local government minister Nick
'I am delighted that the local PSA scheme - which started some three
years ago - has proved so popular, with almost all of the larger
local authorities getting involved.
'The new scheme announced today will keep the valuable features of
the original local PSAs and build on this to make the second
generation even more effective.
'At the heart of the new scheme will be an agreement between councils
their partners, and government, about priorities for local
'The second generation of the local PSAs is significantly more
ambitious and challenging for both central and local governments. I
am confident however, that it will build on the positive experience
and outcomes of the original agreements to give people the best local
Chief secretary to the Treasury Paul Boateng said:
'Local PSAs provide a key tool for authorities as they work to drive
up performance across the breadth of local government's
responsibilities. They have enhanced the debate between central and
local government at an individual authority level, and provided new
opportunities for local government to challenge Whitehall.
'The second g eneration of local PSAs should drive these changes
forward, seeking to be as radical as possible. In particular, I am
pleased that this generation will allow authorities and their
partners to focus on the priorities for improvement in the local
Jeremy Beecham, chair of the Local Government Association, said:
'Local government has great ambitions for improving the quality of
life for its local residents, but it cannot succeed alone and needs
to use its role as a community leader to work with local partners to
tackle the issues which are most important in their communities.
'The second generation of Local PSAs provide a focus for the
partnership working that is already happening in many areas to
continue and expand. The renewed commitment from central government
today to value local priorities for improvement is welcome
recognition of the importance of setting local targets. Local
authorities look forward to working with central government to agree
ambitious freedoms that will enable them to be more innovative in the
way they deliver local services.'
Local PSAs were developed by the government, in partnership with the
LGA, in 2000. Councils agree performance targets with government and
earn a reward grant for meeting these targets. A 'pump priming' grant
(the average is £1m per authority) is given at the start of the
Agreements for first generation PSAs are in place with the vast
majority of the shire counties and unitary authorities, metropolitan
districts, and London boroughs.
Second generation PSAs will differ from the first in:
- a focus on the priorities for improvement locally, rather than on
- a greater effort to concert the activities of partners locally,
both within and beyond local government, in support of tackling those
priorities for improvement;
- a renewed effort by government departments to add value to the
tackling of those priorities for improvement.
Several of the pilot local PSA authorities want to negotiate new
agreements by next Spring, with others following shortly afterwards.
The new publication LPSA 2G Building on Success, A guide to the
second generation of local public service agreements is available here.