Headlines: November 10th, 2004

A groundbreaking performance management tool, which is now available online, is the first result of an eight month collaboration between four leading local government organisations.The Improvement Network is available via http://www.improvementnetwork.gov.uk/   and has been developed by the Audit Commission, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the Employers’ Organisation for local government and the Improvement and Development Agency. They have pooled their expertise to give local government managers a single point of access for improvement information.

Local councils have been involved in consultations about the shape of the project since its inception. The site is aimed at senior and middle managers in councils across England and gives them access to troubleshooting tips, case studies, workshop formats, good practice and self-assessment checklists as well as performance indicators and current ‘hot’ topics. It covers five improvement themes – leadership and governance, resources and performance management, customer focus and community engagement and organisation and people.

The information on the Network site has been contributed by all four partnersand draws on case studies from all parts of the country. In one, for example, Caradon District Council describes how it met the challenge of supporting the rural economy. Derby City Council offers the results of its review of the work and life balance of its staff and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority shares its research into the costs and benefits of partnerships.

The Improvement Network is only one example of partnership projects bringing together professional expertise in the public sector. CIPFA, supported by the Audit Commission, has recently launched a financial management model for local authorities and work is still going on by the Standards Board for England and IDeA to update the ethical governance toolkit in time for the Spring.