Abstracts: August 19th, 2003

The Audit Commission has analysed the results of the first round of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment completed last year and distilled out the critical success factors for the best performing councils. The analysis revealed the importance of political leadership that focuses on change and continuous improvement, and makes – and sticks to – tough decisions, even in politically sensitive areas. Equally important is strong community leadership based on a shared vision for delivering local priorities and joint strategies with partners. The best performing councils had clear frameworks for managing performance that support council priorities and link to planning and budget setting. They also had people management strategies that harness staff energies and skills to deliver council objectives.The CPA process also provides learning for regulators and government that informs the way ahead and the future relationship between central and local government. The analysis will enable the Commission and other regulators to maximise regulatory value for money through Strategic Regulation which aims to promote improvement in public services by focusing regulatory attention where it is most necessary.

Patterns for improvement: Learning from comprehensive performance assessment to achieve better public services is available from the Audit Commission http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk