Abstracts: January 23rd, 2002

Inspection plays an important role in driving up standards in public services as well as offering public assurance. Well researched evidence on the effectiveness of different inspection regimes is not available and there has been no systematic appraisal of costs and benefits. There is growing concern about rising costs and there are suggestions that inspection practices can generate perverse outcomes. The Review calls for a more rigorous search for evidence on the costs and benefits of external review regimes and lays responsibility for this on review bodies. Best Value reviews in local government have resulted in fragmentation and duplication of effort and it urges that the opportunity should be taken to refocus these reviews. The Review recommends a more co-ordinated approach in local government and the police service to secure a better integration of audit and inspection. The Report is critical of the lack of sharing and learning between inspectorates and urges the development of a new form of joined up inspection capability.Published by HM Treasury www.hm-treasury.gov.uk