Abstracts: April 20th, 2005

This discussion paper published jointly by ODPM and the Treasury is intended to stimulate debate around developing a more devolved approach to improving outcomes. It examines the development of a more effective and flexible performance framework to secure public services that are better focused on the needs of local people. The paper emphasises the opportunities for users and local people to influence local priorities and the design and delivery of services.It describes the potential for developing an increasingly area based approach between councils and their partners – with greater focus on accountability between local partners in achieving common outcomes for the area. It also examines the relevance of strategic, integrated relationship management through Government Offices to tailor negotiations, co-ordinate engagement and support, and challenge and respond to significant under-performance. It also stresses the need for better and more transparent information to underpin any effective performance system.

The discussion paper also expands on the Chancellor’s Budget announcement about a rationalised inspection landscape, including the creation of a single local services inspectorate by 2008. This inspectorate will bring together the functions of the Audit Commission and the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate in relation to inspection of English local authorities. It will also have an important role as a gatekeeper and co-ordinator for all inspection of local authorities. The paper also looks at how inspection could be refocused in the longer term.

The discussion paper is available at: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/documents/page/odpm_locgov_036828.pdf