Headlines: October 24th, 2002

The Audit Commission has been accused of playing into the hands of the ‘name and shame culture’ with its plans for a Comprehensive Performance¬† Assessment framework . The Local Government Information Unit is claiming that the Commission has missed a golden opportunity to build a system based on consensus.Responding to the Commission proposals for CPA in county councils and single tier authorities, LGIU director Dennis Reed said, ” The consultation period provided the ideal opportunity for the Audit Commission to take on board strong criticisms from local authorities of their plans for CPA. But this new document shows by and large they have been ignored.”

He said the Commission had failed to take into account the weight of informed criticism from councils and had succeeded in alienating the organisations it was purporting to help.

“The crude overall performance categories of excellent, good, fair, weak and poor stay as expected – and play into the hands of a media baying for blood. The system that penalises councils if just one major service area is rated poor remains in place – against overwhelming hostility from local government,” he added.

Mr. Reed said new and helpful calls for an independent appeals panel if things go wrong had fallen on deaf ears.