Headlines: April 14th, 2003

A project has been launched to find the key ingredients of successful turn round strategies adopted by the fifteen councils described as poor or weak in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment published in December 2002. The project will be led by The University of Birmingham’s Institute of Local Government Studies with support from the Open University, Cardiff Business School, MORI and KPMG. The project was commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Audit Commission, the Local Government Association and the Improvement & Development Agency.The aim is to learn about ways in which councils with performance problems can most effectively improve. Attention will focus on the strategies councils adopt to strengthen their corporate governance and management, and the way this impacts on the services for which they are responsible. The ways in which poorly performing councils change as they implement recovery plans will be closely monitored. Lessons will be drawn about the process of central government engagement, the effectiveness of recovery strategies adopted by councils and the longer-term improvements that they achieve.

The project will follow developments in the fifteen councils over the next two years. During this period there will be a major programme of dissemination. This will support the recovery approaches councils themselves employ, as well as the policies developed by central government, the Audit Commission and others. The dissemination process will include discussion papers, summaries of research findings, workshops and action-learning sets.

This project complements work done by the Audit Commission in identifying the critical success factors in the best performing councils. See the abstract below from the report Patterns For Improvement.