Headlines: September 9th, 2004

An independent study has found that the Government’s Best Value Regime says it is having a positive impact on the internal culture and structure of many local authorities and it paints an encouraging picture of the role it is playing in the improvement and performance management of local government.

The report gives the interim findings from a study on the Best Value regime, which being carried out by the Centre for Local and Regional Government Research at Cardiff University. They show that the regime is producing better outcomes for local people.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is claiming that the findings are proof that by embracing Best Value principles, local authorities are making positive changes, through such methods as competition and public-private partnerships.

Drawing on information from 2002, the interim report confirms that Best Value principles are now embedded within councils’ performance management arrangements, and that they are continuing to provide the foundations for improvement and assessment. They show councils implementing Best Value processes to a greater degree than in 2001. Most respondents to the research believed that the reviews undertaken by their authorities had produced ambitious recommendations that would lead to significant improvements. More than three quarters of respondents reported that their authorities encouraged innovation, compared to 66 per cent 2001. More than eight out of ten reported that their authorities were interested in developing public-private partnerships – almost twice as many as in 2001 and 91 per cent reported that there was a strong focus on improvement – again up on the 2001 figure.

Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said the interim report confirmed that the Best Value framework continued to be the basis of performance management in local government and, along with Comprehensive Performance Assessment, was
helping local authorities to deliver better services for local people.