Abstracts: October 25th, 2005

The Audit Commission has analysed the performance of the smaller district councils in the year ending December 2004 and identified breakthrough areas for councils to focus to meet the challenge of performance improvement. The areas are:*    Lead and manage effectively
*    Pull together
*    Make time to listen and learn
*    Look outwards
*    Take a long-term view
*    Embed performance management and other systems
*    Stick with change and improvement
*    Prepare for the future and reach for new heights for continuous

Councils moving on from ‘fair’ need to resolve any leadership and relationship issues including tackling any remaining complacency and insularity, clarifying medium – and long-term direction, priorities and targets, strengthening systems and making partnerships more productive.

Councils moving on from ‘good’ need to make sure that direction and priorities are crystal clear, that all communities are engaged, that systems are embedded into the structure and culture. They also need to be satisfied that partnerships are giving the full benefit.

Excellent councils need to ensure that they are performing strongly in most areas but can still do more.

They need to work on embedding performance management, making clear the long-term vision and what are not priorities, refining and bolstering scrutiny and risk management and building learning into the way things are done.

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