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Local government public relations officers involved in communicating the results of their council's 2003 comprehens...
Local government public relations officers involved in communicating the results of their council's 2003 comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) should visit the Connecting with Communities online toolkit for detailed support and advice on how best to handle this year's exercise.

The toolkit is hosted on the Improvement and Development Agency's website.

The newly-updated Communicating CPAs section of the toolkit provides important information on the Audit Commission's detailed timetable and arrangements for handling publication of this year's CPA results and improvement planning for all 150 single tier and county councils in England.

The toolkit has tips on developing key messages and how to best communicate CPA results to media, staff and members and to residents. It also includes new case studies of how authorities have used innovative and best practice to drive improvement.

Audit Commission director of communications Colin Douglas, said: 'This year's results are likely to generate interest as people look at whether or not their council has improved. Communicating CPA is not just about moving categories but how councils are improving within categories and the lessons learnt since the last assessment. This toolkit is a valuable part of the Audit Commission's and our partners' commitment to supporting councils in communicating CPA effectively.'

The Communicating CPAs section has been updated ahead of publication by the Audit Commission of this year's CPA results for major councils in England on 18 December.

Under CPA, county and single tier councils are assessed annually to determine how well services are operating and how well the council is run. An overall CPA rating then places the council in one of five categories: excellent, good, fair, weak or poor.

The Connecting with Communities toolkit is a jointly funded by the Audit Commission, the ODPM, the Local Government Associa tion and the Improvement and Development Agency. It contains a wealth of professional advice and hundreds of pages of documents that can be downloaded for free, helping spread good practice, and saving councils time and money.

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