Headlines: September 8th, 2000

Four public bodies have come together to issue a joint warning about inspection – a favourite tool of this Government for bringing about improvement. They say it needs to be use for long term good rather than short term headlines.The Local Government Association (LGA), Improvement and Development Agency, Institute for Public Policy Research and NHS Confederation have produce a paper which argues that inspection has to perform a balancing act to win the confidence of those being inspected. They warn that if inspections are not perceived to be balanced, inspectors run the risk of undermining their work by alienating those who are inspected and encouraging them to defend rather than improve their current practice.

The perception of service users is equally vital. Their confidence in services depends on inspection being viewed as rigorous and independent – promoting good practice and rooting out bad.

Delivering Change, Supporting Change: The role of inspection in improving public services – a discussion paper, is found on the LGA website at www.lga.gov.uk/lga/releases/238.htm