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Six councils join CAA pilot

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Six new local authorities are to take part in piloting the new comprehensive area assessment (CAA) framework, the Audit Commission has announced.

Birmingham and Westminster City Councils; Kirklees, North Tyneside, Stockport MBCs; and Nottinghamshire CC will pilot the CAA, with a final version of the new style council assessment framework due in early 2009.

The six councils join four others which have been piloting the CAA, which will replace the comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) next year.

Audit Commission chairman Michael O'Higgins and local government head Gareth Davies said the Commission had listened to feedback from its earlier consultation and that they were confident CAA represented a "dramatic streamlining" of CPA.

"If you look at the components of CPA, apart from the Use of Resources, almost all of them - the three yearly corporate assessment; the annual assessment of every service; the direction of travel - are going. That's a dramatic streamlining," said Mr Davies.

The document was cautiously welcomed by the Local Government Association.

LGA director for improvement and performance Corin Thompson said: "The proposals are, broadly speaking, what the sector has been asking for but there is still a long way to go.

"One of the biggest challenges for the Commission will be getting their message across. A lot of people still do not understand the CAA is fundamentally very different from CPA."

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