Abstracts: July 28th, 2003

The Audit Commission has identified building capacity through partnership as the key driver for improvement. The main messages in this paper have been distilled from the comprehensive performance assessment process. In recent years the scope and number of partnerships have increased particularly with the advent of community strategies and local strategic partnerships. The evidence from CPA is that these partnerships are beginning to lead to improved services for local people, and to an increase in the types of services that are on offer.Joint local working now needs to be extended to form a fundamental part of local service delivery, and the ability of councils to lead or contribute to partnerships will become increasingly important in securing improvement for their localities. One of the most successful ways to build capacity is for councils to work in partnership by linking up with other councils and the public, private and voluntary sectors to achieve a common goal. It is also important to plan and implement jointly agreed programmes of action, as well as encouraging local people to participate in improving their quality of life.

Maintaining a strategic overview is critical to giving shape to the many different partnerships and joint working arrangements that councils are involved with. Successful councils acknowledge that they cannot deliver all the services that citizens need by themselves. They are committed to using partnerships to increase their capacity to deliver a wide-ranging vision of local service delivery and sustainable development for the community in collaboration with partners. The best councils develop a clearly articulated mission and set of priorities with key partners, which are jointly owned and have the full backing of members, staff and partners.

Building Capacity Through Partnership – Learning from Comprehensive Performance Assessment – Briefing Paper 6 is published by the Audit Commission http://www.audit-commission.gov.uk