Headlines: April 27th, 1999

The Department for Environment Transport and the Regions has urged councils to start work on the Best Value initiative before the Bill receives royal assent later in the year. The initiative requires local authorities to consult public and voluntary bodies on a vision for the community, to set corporate objectives and priorities and draw up a schedule of reviews for all services. By March 2000 they will they will have to publish Best Value Performance Plans setting out targets for services for 2000/01. External auditors will report on them by June 2000.

The Best Value Bill defines the community leadership role of local authorities and sets out a vision of councils listening to the people they serve, building up their communities, working in partnership with others, and delivering efficient services to high standards. The aim is to transform local government over the next few years, in line with the wider changes to the public service as a whole, described in the White Paper “Modernising Government”.

The initiative is being piloted in a number of councils and a London Borough discovered by benchmarking that it is spending up to £3m more each year on domiciliary care than other boroughs in London.

Further information can be obtained from http://www.local.detr.gov.uk/cct/ccttemp.htm