Headlines: September 3rd, 2002

Three quarters of senior local authority officers say they believe that ‘best value’ is a key policy for driving improvements in local services, according to a new survey.The finding is contained in the first national census of local authorities’ attitudes towards best value, published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

‘Best Value in English Local Government: Summary Results from the Census of Local Authorities in 2001’ shows, says the Government, that attitudes towards best value are more positive than previously assumed on the basis of anecdotal evidence.

It also shows that officers on the ground believe that best value is already delivering results, with 86% agreeing that best value review recommendations lead to significant service improvements in their authorities.

Other results from the census are less clear. The majority of respondents believe that the costs associated with inspection are excessive. The survey also found that many smaller districts encountering difficulties in adapting a corporate approach to best value, completing reviews and coping with inspection.

The aim of the research was to provide a clearer picture of the long-term impact of best value. It was undertaken by the Local and Regional Government Research Unit at Cardiff University and will become an annual projec