Headlines: March 5th, 2009

The final round of Comprehensive Performance Assessments for single tier and county councils in England are published today and show that the number of top-rated ‘four-star’ councils has almost trebled since they began in 2002. The Audit Commission report shows, however, that 27 councils have slipped back since last year – five of them dropping by two stars.

The CPA system ends this year with 62 authorities achieving four stars, compared with 22 in the first year. The commission says the total is a record over the life of CPA, which has also seen 30 of the 149 councils making significant improvements and being rated two or more star categories higher.

The report shows 27 councils have retained their four-star status for four successive years; no council has failed to achieve even a single star, the performance of 26 authorities has risen by a category and in two cases is up by two stars. It also found that 91 per cent of councils performed consistently or well above minimum requirements for use of resources last year with none below minimum standard. Thirty-five councils are now rated as ‘improving strongly’, the highest number ever. In four of the five councils which have lost two stars, low scores for Children and Young People’s Services were a factor.

The Chairman of the Audit Commission, Michael O’Higgins, said local government had risen well to the challenge of CPA. “As we say goodbye to the star rating system, it is heartening to see a record number of 4 star councils, and 28 rising by one or more categories in this last year alone,” he said and added, “We hope they will all take this experience and commitment to improvement into CAA from April, and help us to reflect the wider impact of local public services on people’s lives,” he added.