Headlines: April 3rd, 2001

Government inspection is seen as an essential road to improvement, according to local councils, but is failing to act as the catalyst for improvement that it might, according to a new survey.’An Inspector Calls’ sought the views of all local authorities in England and Wales on their experiences of inspection. It revealed that over 70 per cent of respondents felt inspection was an important catalyst for improvement and that it increased accountability.

But less than half felt such inspection resulted in service improvements and only 27 per cent thought it led to innovation.

Many local authorities felt the variety of government inspectorates failed to share best practice amongst local authorities or join-up their work. Only a few councils believed there was sufficient co-ordination or enough consistency between the different inspection regimes.

The Local Government Association, which organised the survey, has promised to work with the various inspectorates to work together with councils to deliver the improvements thought to be lacking.