Abstracts: October 2nd, 2003

This Briefing Paper by the Audit Commission argues that developing an approach that is more centred on service users is not just a regulatory obligation it is also part of good management and providing high-quality services. Consulting and involving service users, and finding out what the general public want from their local services, can help councils to carry out their work more efficiently and effectively. The Commission believes that there is scope for service users and citizens to be involved at all levels in a council, from member engagement with the communities in their wards to service departments. It is concerned that some councils have poor systems of consultation or systems in need of review. Five factors have been identified as critical to successful user and citizen engagement they are: commitment to user focus and citizen engagement; understanding the local communities; clarity of purpose; communicating in appropriate ways and delivering change and improved outcomes.The Briefing Paper is available at http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk/cpa/analysis.asp