Headlines: December 4th, 2002

The top performing councils share a similar approach to achieve success. The Audit Commission has analysed its inspection reports, performance indicator data, reports from Ofsted, the Social Services Inspectorate, Benefits Fraud Inspectorate, and Government departments and found three critical success factors for local government.Staying focused on local priorities tops the list. The best councils are not diverted by short term crises and they choose their new initiatives carefully. Councils adopting a partnership approach are delivering better services. The third factor is managing performance, which involves treating plans and targets not as ends in themselves, but as a way to get high-quality services.

The Audit Commission report ‘A Picture of Performance’ presents case studies from Blackburn and Darwin, Camden, Gateshead and Hertfordshire, which show how very different councils have applied the critical success factors and achieved success with unique approaches to local circumstances.

The report is a curtain raiser for the publication next week of a local government league table. The largest 150 councils will be classified as excellent, good, fair, weak or poor. The remaining 238 councils will be brought into the league table next year.

Link: http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk