Tough measures have been announced to improve services of the poorest performing councils. A consultation paper ‘Tackling Poor Performance in Local Government’ sets out varying levels of intervention, depending on the potential for improvement. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister makes it clear that they will work with councils and support them in tackling poor performance, but where councils are resistant, tough and unpopular decisions will be made.The turnround strategy will include a Recovery Plan and a Partnership or Improvement Board. Councils would be expected to develop a plan that identifies the key actions and solutions necessary to deliver improvements in service delivery. The board would provide advice and support to the council, helping them make progress against key priorities. Members of the board could include experts in the specific area of weakness, senior officers with relevant operational experience, and business executives.
Where it is decided that a council is unlikely to produce or implement a recovery plan, external contractors from the public, private and voluntary sectors will be brought in. In extreme cases where it is unlikely that, even with external support, the council can bring about a turnround, an interim management team will be hired. The team will be made up of members with the necessary skills and experience to undertake specific functions on behalf of the council.
The poorest performing councils will be identified in the new Comprehensive Performance Assessment process.