Abstracts: February 4th, 2008

This note supports local government in making the most of the new local performance framework and provides signposts to other guidance and recently published information. The key feature of the framework is collaboration between public bodies in an area and a new drive for partnership working to meet local challenges.

The Lyons report on the future of local government was clear that the place-shaping role of local councils includes maintaining the cohesiveness of communities. This in turn requires a new way of working in which public sector organisations work together more to deliver better, more responsive services to local people. It also requires that public, private and third sectors strive together for improved prosperity with plenty of ambition for the future.

The new local performance framework, with its strengthened commitment to local as well as national priorities, provides a basis to reconnect citizens with government. The empowerment of citizens, through engagement in the design and delivery of services and other activities, will provide an impetus to improve service quality and citizen satisfaction. Partnerships will benefit from encouraging choice, influence and user involvement throughout the process of developing agreements and delivering outcomes.

The local council is under a duty to consult widely in developing the Sustainable Community Strategy, which is the starting point for local delivery. The strategy will reflect the priorities and perspectives of the local council and delivery partners, because it is well placed to take account of the views of the local community in describing how they want their area to change over time.

The Audit Commission and six other inspectorates are jointly developing an outcome-focussed and risk-based Comprehensive Area Assessment which will be introduced from April 2009. Each year’s Assessment will be made up from a risk assessment identifying risks to outcomes and the effectiveness of their management, a scored use of resources judgement for each public body in the area, a scored direction of travel judgement for each local authority in the area and publication of performance data for each area against the set of national indicators.

The guidanceis available at DCLG. http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/621282