Book News: November 2nd, 2006

This report summarises the main findings of the evaluation of the long-term impact of the Best Value regime which was introduced across local government in 2000. It concludes that Best Value is an important driver of internal change in local authorities and led to significant improvements in local services. The evidence from the evaluation suggests that many internal changes would not have occurred so rapidly or have been so widespread in the absence of Best Value.The report makes it clear that Best Value reviews on their own were not a sufficiently strong driver of change. They were not effective in driving increased competition between service providers and they did little to encourage councils to develop and manage supply markets more effectively. In councils where there was little appetite for change the review teams often simply went through the motions and recommendations focused on relatively minor adjustments in services. However, where there was the will to change, rigorous reviews did help authorities to gauge how good their services were and to explore alternative approaches to delivering them.

A principal finding from the evaluations is that continuous improvement requires a combination of effective leadership and performance management at the corporate level and good planning and delivery at service level.

The report is available at: