Abstracts: April 14th, 2005

This progress report on service improvement in Local Government was commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Evidence suggests that overall there have been significant improvements in most services since 2000/2001. The ODPM’s basket of indicators indicates that overall performance improved by 12.5% between 2000-2001 and 2003-2004. They show improvement across all authority types, all Comprehensive Performance Assessment categories and most services. There are large variations between services, with the greatest overall improvements in culture and waste management services. Performance has been improving, particularly among the poorest performers. 60% of upper tier and unitary councils moved up one or more CPA categories between 2002 and 2004.Public satisfaction with the overall performance of local authorities remains low compared to most other public service providers and has declined in recent years. User satisfaction Best Value surveys indicate that there was a decrease from 65% to 55% between 2000/01 and 2003/04. Fewer than half of residents believe that local authorities are efficient or provide good value for money, but net satisfaction with the overall quality of services is higher, particularly among service users.

The evidence suggests that improvements have been facilitated by increases in resources but that key elements of the Modernisation Agenda are Comprehensive Performance Assessment, the Best Value regime, e-governance and the National Procurement Strategy. They have been important drivers of improvement.

Local authority officers highlight in particular the importance of more effective leadership and better performance management in enabling improvement.

The Evaluation is available at: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/documents/page/odpm_locgov_036829.pdf