Sir Jeremy (Lab) said the model, which will link performance to freedoms, was in stark contrast 'with the health stuff which seems more prescriptive and divisive'.
'I think we have still got reservations about the [four grades] but it matters less if the rewards are more modest, and I think they are fairly modest,' he said.
He played down the section on intervention: 'If it was in isolation I think we would be more concerned. But it's not been regarded as the only game in town by a long shot. There's a welcome emphasis on peer review and councils helping other councils.
Sir Jeremy recognised the paper's failure to address the balance of funding directly, but said its promise to take another look 'disinterred something that appeared to have been buried at the crossroad with a stake through its heart at the later stages of the last Parliament'.
He praised the cross-governmental vision of the paper, and called for it to be backed up by action.