Abstracts: September 19th, 2003

This report by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister evaluates the impact of the Best Value regime on securing continuous improvement and sets out a baseline from which progress will be assessd in the future. Whilst Best Value is a driver for change it is imposing substantial additional burdens and costs on authorities, notably through the new inspection requirements. The regime has provided an added impetus for increased corporate working and councils that are able to operate in a ‘corporate’ fashion are most likely to have used reviews as a driver for improvement.There was some evidence of tangible improvements in performance and many officers and members expected future improvements – usually involving incremental, rather than step changes. Some authorities had concluded that Best Value reviews were of less importance given the arrival of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment and officers in some authorities felt that preparations for CPA had taken up time that might otherwise have been given to Best Value reviews. The case studies highlighted resistance to the kinds of changes that the Best Value regime seeks to encourage in some councils.

The report is available at: http://www.local.odpm.gov.uk/research/regime.pdf