Headlines: May 26th, 2004

Two new guides have been published to help local councillors and senior local government officers to develop effective performance management. They have been produced jointly by the Audit Commission and the Improvement and Development Agency and draw on the knowledge and experience of both organisations as well as on good practice developed by local authority members and officers.The guides have been shaped by early work carried out under the Performance Management, Measurement and Information project run by the two bodies and aimed at improving performance management in local government.The guide for members outlines the importance of performance management in raising the standards of services and how performance information can be used to scrutinise and challenge services. It includes checklists to help councillors judge their own authority’s progress towards effective performance management. It also points readers to further sources of information.

The senior managers’ guide describes what an effective performance management system looks like, the culture needed to make it work and the obstacles that have to be overcome. It also provides checklists to assess progress and further sources of information.

The Audit Commission’s Managing Director for Local Government, Frances Done, said Comprehensive Performance Assessments and the IDeA’s peer reviews showed that authorities that managed performance well were delivering better services. At the same time they indicated that many authorities were still struggling to develop effective performance management arrangements.