A pilot scheme starting in April 2001 will allow some 20 councils to decide objectives and set targets based on local needs and key Government priorities. The councils will decide on the objectives in discussion with the local community and other key partners like health trusts and businesses. By signing up to local Public Service Agreements they will escape the rigid prescription of central government initiatives. Rules and regulations that get in the way of better performance will be removed and they will no longer need to produce some statutory plans.To qualify for the pilot, councils will have to stretch the national standards such as those in Best Value plans. They will also have to set local priority targets arising from the Community Plan such as cutting health inequalities or tackling crime or social exclusion.
A Performance Reward Fund has been set up as part of the Spending Review 2000 and councils that achieve their targets will be rewarded.
A wider roll out of local Public Service Agreements is planned for 2001/02