Headlines: November 26th, 1997

The transition from Compulsory Competitive Tendering to the Best Value initiative has receive a boost with the announcement more flexible rules and incentives to seek competition.Regulations on CCT are being relaxed to make them more flexible as encouragement to local authorities to move to a Best Value-based approach to service delivery. Best Value aims to ensure that local authorities provide quality services at a price that local people are willing to pay. Hilary Armstrong, Minister for Local Government, made it clear in June that the Government intends to replace CCT with a duty of Best Value, as soon as Parliamentary time allows. This relaxation of the rules paves the way for developing the principles of Best Value in advance of the new legislation.

The changes include:

  • allowing local authorities an enhanced credit of 125% for services subjected to voluntary competition
  • lowering of the percentage of finance, construction and property services that are required to be subjected to competition
  • extending the CCT implementation timetable for reorganised authorities
  • exempting schools from CCT
  • reducing the amount of detailed prescription for tendering and evaluation of contracts
  • removing the need for local authorities to prepare an annual statement of the costs of supporting their front line services.

Hilary Armstrong said: “The changes emphasise voluntary competition. Competition will remain a vital element of Best Value, but we are keen to use it in a more flexible and constructive way. We are increasing the credit that local authorities will get for any professional services work that they put out to competition voluntarily during the remainder of the CCT regime.”

The changes reflect the views of local authorities, professional bodies and relevant private sector interests who responded to the Government’s consultation paper.