Headlines: December 1st, 2003

An initiative from the Improvement and Development Agency has been created to improve the sharing of local councils’ knowledge. It comes as a result of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment process, which showed that individual councils have specific areas of excellence, irrespective of their overall rating.Now IDeA is working with pilot authorities on a new scheme – the Accelerated Improvement Consortia – to capture this knowledge, to be shared initially within a small learning network and then more widely with local authorities nationally.

The overall goals set for each consortium are to identify the knowledge and expertise the councils have, create a framework for specific service and organisational improvement through expert facilitation, and apply this to the council’s own individual circumstances.

IDeA is piloting the work with 17 councils and one local strategic partnership across three cross-cutting areas, partnership working, mobilising knowledge and customer focus. The work is expected to last until May next year when the process will be evaluated and other authorities invited to participate.

IDeA Chairman, Colin Barrow, said most councils knew the areas in which they needed to improve, but were looking for some practical help in moving forward. Collectively authorities had the knowledge about how to deliver change, but it was buried in databases, or management reports.